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Kenya identifies land for IDPs

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 15 – Lands Minister James Orengo on Thursday said the second phase of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) relocation programme will be complete in the next five weeks.

He said they were currently in the process of vetting various parcels of land that the government wanted to purchase for the purpose.

“We have the will, we have the money and we are able, although the allocation we got for the exercise won’t be enough. We are not speaking out of tongue, we have already begun work,” Mr Orengo said.

In the first exercise the government gave two acres to each IDP family that was part of a group of internally displaced persons who bought collective shamba’s to resettle on.

Those IDPs had used the initial monies the government had given them for resettlement to buy the land.

“We are sure that in the next after four to five weeks we will be through with the process of relocating the IDPs,” he said.

Treasury had given the Ministry of Lands Sh1.4 billion for the purpose, but Mr Orengo said they need more resources for planning, survey and other consequential costs.

He said an inter-ministerial team headed by Permanent Secretaries from the ministries of Lands, Internal Security and Special Programmes had identified the parcels of land and are currently handling the negotiations.

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Mr Orengo appealed for patience in the process even as some IDPs complained that they have been left out of the process.

“Its not going to be like a instant coffee, its something we are trying to acquire from individual land owners,” the Lands Minister said.

“We are sending these offers to buy these lands based on government valuation and if they agree to our quotation we will complete the transaction and allow the Ministry of Special Programmes to provide shelter for the remaining IDPs.”

The Lands Minister was speaking at a workshop to sensitize MPs on the Draft Lands Policy.

At the same time, the Lands Minister appealed to MPs to support the Land Policy when it comes to Parliament next month for debate.

He said that for the first time in the country’s history, Kenyans will have an institutionalised framework to guide the use and management of land.

“The hard part will be in the enabling or implementation stage of the legislation where Parliament will play a very principal role,” he said.

Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Natural Resources chairman Mutava Musyimi said he was hopeful that the policy will reduce cases of irregular land allocations.

“We are all aware that the land issues in Agenda Four these are critical times and I think we must do our job as parliamentarians to work with the government and try and come with a position in the context,” said the Gachoka MP.

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But, a consultant Prof Paul Syaanga, said the government and Parliament will have to define key sections such as those that touch on the absentee landlords and issues of restitution especially for those who suffered historical injustices under the colonial regime.

He however ruled out the issue of reparation saying such provision only exist when a country is at war.


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