NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – Access to land is still a major hindrance to the resettlement of the remaining Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) according to the Ministry of Special Programmes.
Minister Naomi Shaban says that there were still about 8,000 IDP’s in 30 transit camps across the country and lack of land was the reason the Ministry could not meet the two weeks deadline issued by President Mwai Kibaki.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday she said about16, 000 acres of land was required to fully resettle all the IDP’s including those who were integrated with other families.
“Before I get a report to know that the Ministry of Lands has already done what they were mandated to do, then I cannot do anything,” Dr Shaban stated.
“Like for example I cannot start moving IDP’s to a chunk of land which an offer has been given to the owner of the land but the owner has not accepted the offer, I can’t do that,” she said.
She at the same time said there was need for the lead ministries to cooperate for the resettlement exercise to be swift.
“I do not have people working at the grassroots level; I work through district commissioners and the provincial administrators but the fact that they were not directly answerable to Special Programmes Ministry sometimes makes them overstep their mandate,” she said in response to why there seemed to be a conflict between her ministry and that of Internal Security.
She said of the more than 663,000 people who were displaced in the post election skirmishes, about 175,000 had been compensated, 148,000 paid Sh10, 000 and 26,683 had received an extra Sh25, 000.
“Those who get the Sh25, 000 are those whose houses were burnt or destroyed and only 78,000 families were supposed to receive this,” she emphasised.
She said 19 self help groups had been formed by IDP’s who were in the main camps by combining the money they had received as compensation and purchased some small chunks of land.
“We have expressed interest for 8,000 acres of land to different people and in this first phase we were thinking that those who are in the self help groups who are totalling about 7,000 families were going to get two acres of land each,” she said.
“But it depends on how the seller of land responds and we have to give them time to make a decision and according to the law any offer is valid for three months,” the Minister added.
Dr Shaban also accused the United States government of failure to honour its commitment to assist in the resettlement process.
“Last year after the post election crisis there were very big announcements of up to $25 million as a donation from the Americans to the people of Kenya to resettle the IDP’s, to date we have not received even a dollar,” she said.