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Minister irked by IDPs evictions

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 14 – Special Programmes Minister Dr Naomi Shaban says the police should desist from forcefully evicting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from their camps.

She stated on Wednesday that the police should let her ministry deal with the re-location of the internally displaced.

“We as the government are not supposed to disturb those who were displaced because we will be adding to the problems that they had following the post election violence,” she said.

“I saw the violence on TV and I was disturbed because when we began the ‘operation rudi nyumbani’, we had said that we are not forcing anyone. People had decided that they wanted to go back to their homes and we are not supposed to forcibly evict them.”

Dr Shaban explained that the re-settlement programme was going on well despite failing to meet last Friday’s deadline.

“It is true that the government is in the process of buying farms and it will consider people from Naivasha, Mai Mahiu and Nakuru who will be involved in the whole process,” the special programmes Minister stated.

On Tuesday about 300 IDPs in Burnt Forest engaged police in running battles during eviction. A contingent of regular and administration police raided their camp and destroyed hundreds of tents. Police lobbed teargas canisters at them as they resisted the eviction, and chased them into maize plantations.

The IDPs later demonstrated along Eldoret-Nakuru highway, lit bonfires and stoned motorists. Police dispersed the demonstrators and guarded the camp as many vowed to return until the Government compensates them.

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Uasin Gishu OCPD Muinde Kioko, had however, pointed out that fake IDPs and criminals had infiltrated the camps.

Local Councillor Wathura Wainaina was arrested for allegedly inciting the group against the resettlement. The Burnt Forest group was not included in the recent Sh35,000 compensation phase.
On Monday, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara accused the government of failing to adequately resettle internally Displaced Persons in the country.

The lawyer alleged that the Sh35,000 supposed to be given to the IDPs was being directed to the wrong people. He said despite being insufficient, the government was not keen enough to ensure the money got to the genuine people.

Mr Imanyara had emphasised the need for the government to consider their security and status of where they were relocating to, and not just physical eviction for the sake of being seen to be resettling them.

The lawyer regretted that displaced persons under the prevailing circumstances could not sue the government since there was no legislation in place. But he said he had considered that factor in his Special Tribunal Bill.

The Bill provides for the appointment of a special magistrate to conduct hearings and identify victims and determine their compensation. He said the provision remained very relevant especially under the current situation where IDPs were being relocated forcibly.

However, the special programmes minister refuted the claims stating that provisions had been put in place to assist the IDPs who had been integrated into the society.

She said that they will also benefit from the fund allocations and stated that they shall be assisted to settle back into their homes.

“We have not forgotten those IDPs who are staying with their relatives and friends. We have also considered them in the fund allocation and they will also be helped to go back to their homes,” she said.

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