NAIROBI, July 16 – The resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is moving into the second phase, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said Wednesday, that will focus on peaceful coexistence.,
The Vice President said the second phase, “Operation Ujirani Mwema” (Good Neighbourliness) is crucial, as it involves getting the displaced families and those who evicted them to accept one another as countrymen.
Musyoka made the remarks at his Jogoo House office when he met a delegation from Cargolux Airlines International led by their Chief Executive Officer, Ulrich Ogiermann, who presented him with a cheque of Sh1 million for IDP resettlement.
The Minister for Special Programmes, Dr Naomi Shaban was also present.
Ogiermann said that as investors in Kenya the company would support humanitarian work and especially the IDP repatriation programme.
“We are people who do business in Kenya, transporting flowers and horticultural products to various destinations in Europe and we are therefore glad to assist.”
He said Kenya has huge potential to produce horticulture and floriculture exports and encouraged locals to venture into the business.
Shaban on her part said that the country needs all its partners as the work to resettle the hundreds of thousands of IDPs takes shape.
More than 350,000 people were displaced from their homes early this year, as violence wracked the country following a disputed December 2007 poll.
When the dust settled, the government launched “Operation Rudi Nyumbani”, the first phase of the resettlement, where trucks were dispatched to ferry IDPs back to their homes and out of the squalid camps they were residing in.
The government also offered the displaced persons compensation, and alternative housing where their former homes were burnt to the ground.
There was a lot of resistance and complaints from IDPs that their security back home was not guaranteed and that the compensation offered was insufficient.
There were also cases of IDPs being chased out of their homes a second time, mostly in the Rift Valley Province, prompting President Mwai Kibaki to once again call for peaceful coexistence and engaging the church’s help in this.
Dr Shaban is optimistic that Operation Ujirani Mwema will be successful, intimating that the on-going talks between the displaced people and their neighbours were bearing fruit.
“We are happy to see those people who displaced their neighbours now assisting them to rebuild their houses and eating together.”
She commended development partners such as UN agencies, the Red Cross, and civil society organisations for their efforts in supporting the two resettlement phases through the construction of houses, giving of funds, and providing water and food.
The Minister disclosed that the Kenya Red Cross is constructing houses in Uasin Gishu, while an Italian NGO is constructing houses in Timboroa for the IDPs who’ve returned home.