A positive twist in Kenyan IDP story

April 10, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8- It is no longer strange to hear the story of displaced Kenyans after the 2008 post election violence.

The story has more often than not portrayed a gloom picture of the deplorable conditions that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are living in.

But a visit to Naivasha portrayed a different picture – that it is not all a dark cloud for Kenya’s IDP’s. Some of those who have benefited from a Sh10, 000 government resettlement package have a different story to tell.

“We came to Mai Mahiu area in Naivasha district and we got a piece of land of two and a half acres which we bought,” Stephen Mbugua, an IDP, says.

Mr Mbugua is among a group of IDPs who were at the Narok DC’s camp following the violence but relocated when they benefited from this package.

He and 53 other IDPs at the camp joined forces to buy a two-and-a-half acre piece of land where they have lived since September 2008.

“We got here at night and it was very cold. We made makeshift shelters. I remember I was with another woman whose daughter had given birth two days before the relocation and it was tough because we didn’t even have blankets,” narrates Lucy Wambui.

The government gave them an extra Sh25, 000 each to buy iron sheets but the group instead opted to buy more land. With that each of them got a plot of 50 by 100 acres.

“We got sponsors from Nairobi known as Habitat for Humanities who agreed to build houses for us. They built 54 houses and they are also building for other groups,” Stephen explains.

The group which calls itself Fumilia Narok Group now lives in these three-roomed permanent houses.

“You can be hungry but live in peace and you are not in constant fear of attacks. It is better to eat food without salt or oil but you have peace. Mai-Mahiu may be a place where we go hungry but we have peace and that’s all that matters,” states Joel Mwaniki.

“We are comfortable here because no one is disturbing us,” says Lucy.

Despite the success story, the IDPs say they still need government aid in terms of food and education for their children.

“Our children are not going to school. Some passed (the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations) very well but the parents are not in a position to take them to secondary schools. The government should commit to be paying for them the fees so that they can continue with their education,” Stephen appeals.    

But even as the IDPs try to rebuild their lives in this new town, they say they are angered by the International Criminal Court (ICC) process where six prominent Kenyans are undergoing trials for crimes committed after the 2007 disputed elections.

They feel that the process was not all-inclusive.

“The way we were thinking as IDPs is that Moreno Ocampo(ICC Prosecutor) would come to the ground and interview us because we are the ones who suffered the violence…some were maimed, others died after rape ordeals and that’s why we feel Ocampo should have come to the ground and talked to us,” says Stephen.

“Even if may be they used the process that the Hague uses in their courts it would have been better if Ocampo came to us and asked how it (violence) happened,” opines Joel.

“We went to a secluded place to pray and fast for one month in Subukia and God told us that we should forgive all those who perpetrated the violence because it was all a prophesy that had to be. And even as we live in camps it is the prophesy that we are fulfilling and all Kenyans should know that God has said the Ocampo Six will not be prosecuted. They will just appear at the ICC and then come back to the country,” says Anna Njeri another victim of the post election violence who is with the Fumilia Eldoret group.

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