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Human rights watchdog raps politicians

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has raised concern over the unwillingness of politicians to reunite communities following the post 2007 election violence.

Vice Chairman Hassan Omar Hassan has told Capital News that politicians have been a big let down to Kenyans in promoting national cohesion.

“One of the saddest bit about Kenya is that there is very little effort going on towards rebuilding parts of the nation that were torn apart,” he said in an interview.

Mr Hassan accused politicians of failing to initiate a deliberate process of reintegration and national healing despite there being thousands of Kenyans still in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

“We see politics as usual. It almost appears like we suffer from amnesia. We have forgotten that we were just from a very tumultuous time almost to a point of national disintegration,” he said.

“Today politicians still undertake the same kind of politics of ethnicity, hatred and division.”

The KNHRC Vice Chairperson said the political class had left the role of national healing to local elders, religious leaders and other groups who are keen to ensure affected communities are reintegrated.

“We don’t see any significant role that is being played by the political class,” he said.

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He noted that the politicians had already acquired a comfort zone despite the mediation process having talked about resettlement of persons who were displaced.

“But over the last one year the process has been quite haphazard and part of the compensation that was offered to the IDPs was either inadequate or  there were many allegations of irregularities by the IDPs themselves,” he said.

He however commended the Kenya Red Cross Society for what he termed as a good job in trying to mobilise resources for the resettlement of the IDPs.

“But based on the new budgetary proposals by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, we expect in the next two to three months they will all be resettled.”

However the government has insisted that all the 600,000 genuine IDPs were resettled.

The post 2007 election violence in Kenya followed a disputed presidential election and was the worst ever in Kenyan history. Over 1,300 people died in the violence that was solved through a power sharing deal spearheaded by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

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