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IDP Mukuhe believes she is cursed

NAKURU, August 10 – Kenya’s post-election violence has left in its wake multiple tragedies for her.

Her house was razed; her property was destroyed by marauding youth. She took her family to seek refuge at the Nakuru ASK showground; secure, and far from her former neighbours who had turned into killers overnight.

She was about to sigh with relief, but it was not over.

Her husband was killed, at the “safe” camp after police opened fire at the internally displaced persons.

To cap the five months of ill-fortune, her 3-month-old baby died.

Lucy Mukuhe Kamau, 28, had lived in Molo with her husband and six children, until early this year.

She is now left to look after five children, alone, in deplorable conditions at an internal refugee camp.
With no more assistance from humanitarian organisations, poor Mukuhe is a desperate and helpless woman.

“I don’t know what to do. We have no food to eat in this tent. My children are starving. I don’t have anything left to offer them,” the young woman said.

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While Mukuhe’s baby died of an illness, I gathered that her husband Peter Kamau was shot dead by police during a protest at the IDP camp in May.

Kamau was among hundreds of IDPs who had staged a demonstration to the District Commissioner’s office in Nakuru, demanding to know the whereabouts of their abducted chairman, Peter Kariuki.

Police violently dispersed the demonstrators, shooting Kamau to death.

“He was shot in the head and died on the spot. Police have never explained to us why they shot my husband yet they were in a peaceful demonstration,” Mukuhe said with tears flowing freely down her cheeks.

Rift Valley Provincial Police Chief Joseph Ashimala did not wish to be drawn into that conversation.

“Let us not talk about that at this moment,” he said.

Mukuhe tells us this is the response she gets from the authorities whenever she seeks to know about her husband’s death.

“I have never been told why they (police) killed my husband. I am now a widow, with five six children to look after. How am I going to raise them?” she posed.

Mukuhe believes she is cursed.

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She has been on the receiving end since December when members of the Kalenjin community forcefully ejected members of other communities from the Rift Valley province after the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

Mukuhe and her family were residents of Molo town until December 31st, 2007 when armed youth attacked them and forced them to flee their homes.

“We were residing in a rented house in Molo town when they threatened to kill us. We had to flee,” she said.

Mukuhe said they did not carry anything from a house they called home for six years.

“What wrong did I commit to deserve all this? I had better die than continue living a desperate life with my children,” she avers.

“Look, I am left with nothing. Only that mat, a blanket and some utensils my husband bought before he was felled by a police bullet,” she said, pointing at a tent which she now calls home.

I found her feeding two of her children with porridge. She told me three others had gone out to play.

Some 10,200 IDPs are still camping at the Nakuru Showground.

A few of them heeded the government’s directive to go back to their homes but have since returned to the camp due to what they term ‘security reasons’.

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“I was unable to cope with that life. Living with people who killed my sister and mother,” Rose Muthoni, another IDP at the camp said and called upon the government to offer them an alternative piece of land.

The IDPs have now formed associations to champion for their rights at the camp.

“There are those who were chased away from Kipkelion, Molo, and Nakuru town. Those are some of the associations we have here,” Nakuru IDP chairman Peter Kariuki explained.


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