Kenyan IDPs face Xmas in the cold

December 17, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 -The government has said that it will not be possible to resettle all the remaining Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) by end of this month as earlier promised.

Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi said that lack of funds and land to resettle the IDP’s was the greatest hindrance.

“One of the promises I made to the IDP’s was that I was going to work night and day to ensure that I move them from the camps by December. It has come and is now ending and I still have people in the camps and I am feeling embarrassed to go to the camps because I don’t know what I am going to tell them,” the Minister said.

The revelation comes at a time when the International Criminal Court has named six people suspected to be the masterminds of the post election skirmishes that left close to 1,500 people died and another 650,000 displaced.

She however said an extra 2,209 households had been resettled by last month leaving a balance of about 7,000 households in camps who needed to be resettled.

Ms Murugi promised to have all the remaining IDP’s in camps resettled by June next year.

“We have three camps in Turkana and when I went to visit them I felt challenged because they are not pastoralists, they are farmers but they are in Turkana, so we don’t even know what to do with them because building for them is not an option,” she stated adding that they were 2,935 households there.

“You build for them and then how do they earn their livelihood?” she queried.

She said that Sh2 billion and 20,000 acres of land was required to resettle all those living in camps.

“But as soon as I am done with that I have another 350,000 IDP’s who were integrated- those are the ones who went to live with their friends and families and in addition there is another 641 IDP’s in Uganda whom we are trying to pursue to come home,” she said.

She said that there were also plans to formulate an IDP policy so that if such an occurrence happened again, those displaced would be resettled faster.

“Whatever tax Kenyans pay, a portion of it can build a fund to cater for these people so that they don’t have to stay too long in the camps,” she explained.

The Minister said that the biggest challenge with the IDP’s was the profiling which took a year.

“In that year a lot of things happened, some people when they heard that government was buying land, they decided they were IDP’s so the profiling needs to be done within 72 hours if you want to do a good job,” she said.


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