Concerns over Kenya IDPs ahead of vote

July 6, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has expressed concerns over reports that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are being intimidated to vote against the proposed Constitution during the August 4 referendum.

The commission, which identified Kuresoi and Molo areas as the hot spots, blamed politicians from the Rift Valley for causing anxiety, saying they were misinforming the public on the emotive Chapter on Land.

Advocacy Programme Officer Davis Mulandi said on Tuesday that the distortion of the Land chapter was causing unnecessary tension between locals and the IDPs by inciting them against each other.

“They are saying that the government will take away all the land through the National Land Commission but contrary to what these MPs are saying, communities will be given more powers to manage their land. These MPs are not telling people the truth,” he said.

He added that the chapter on land would address historical land injustices.

“There is the private land, community land and the public land. Community land will not be managed by the local authority but the community land board which will be elected by the community itself,” he observed.

Mr Mulandi also bemoaned the flouting of the law, after campaigns kicked off long before the legally stipulated period.

“There were no proper legal frameworks to hold politicians accountable. Campaigns which are officially supposed to start now (July) were actually led by the President, the Prime Minister and the Vice President and at that point it becomes very difficult to control them,” he said.

He added that the commission had already forwarded the concerns about the IDPs to the ministries of Special Programmes and Internal Security.

“We are also monitoring hate speech because some of those threats border on hate speech and we will present a report to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission on the same within the next one week,” he said.



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