, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – The new Minister for Special Programmes Esther Murugi says resettlement of the remaining Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) would be her main priority at her new job.
The former Gender Minister, who swaps dockets with Naomi Shaban said on Wednesday that she would strive to get land to resettle the remaining 32,000 people living in camps.
“My background is land so maybe I will be able to unravel some of the issues Naomi (outgoing Minister) may not have been able to unravel,” the Minister said.
At least 660,000 people were displaced during the 2007 post election violence.
Outgoing Minister Naomi Shaban said the process of buying land had been complicated by speculators who had hiked the prices in a bid to reap from the government.
“The issue of IDPs although very complicated has been a very successful story. Our story is shared all over the world, the UNHCR (United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees) who are experts in this think we have done very well. I think we could have done better, things have been slower but if enough funds were available, if the buying of land could have been more express, we would have had at least an A-,” Dr Shaban said.
She said that the land was being bought for those IDPs who did not own land before and insisted that all those who owned land were back on their farms.
The Minister who will now head the Gender, Children and Social Services docket said that 798 households had already benefited from 1,928 acres of land in various farms in the larger Nakuru district.
“Another 15 farms constituting 6,465.7 acres have been identified and once the procurement and surveying processes are completed by the Ministry of Lands, the remaining IDPs shall be moved,” she said.
The Minister said that the government had already spent Sh2.8 billion to help families restart their lives and reconstruct their houses.
Dr Shaban at the same time told off those saying she had been demoted and said that all ministries were equal.
“People out there have a habit of making up issues which are non-existent. This (Special Programmes) Ministry has about 200 employees and the Ministry I’m going to (Gender, Children and Social Services) has almost 2,000 employees so which one is bigger?” she posed.
She also said that the Special Programmes docket did not have enough funds as thought by many.
“What is very strange is the assumption that there is a lot of money in this Ministry (Special Programmes). If there was a lot of money we would not have been running around looking for money from all of our development partners,” she said.