, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has raised concern with the government’s failure to resettle Internally Displaced persons almost three years after the post election violence.
The commission which blames lack of coordination between various line ministries concerned with the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons also says the disconnection between the ministries has been hindering the resettlement agenda.
Speaking to Capital News KNCHR’s Collins Omondi said the government had so far been working at cross purpose and that time to resolve the matter was running out.
“The government has to move with speed; there is no other way to it. The ministry of Special Programmes, Internal Security, Land and Finance all have to put their act together. For instance some time last year you would hear the minister of Internal Security telling us that yes we have identified land to resettle the IDPs only for the Minister of Special Programmes to come and say no we have not,” said Mr Omondi.
Mr Omondi also added that the presidential directive given last September to resettle all IDPs within two weeks was yet to be implemented six months down the line.
“Out of the targeted 19 camps the exercise has only commenced in one- Mawingu camp- where less than a third of the targeted have been relocated but not resettled,” he said.
He also said that the concerned ministries needed to start working within a clearly defined structure to prevent duplication of roles.
“We do not have a clear guideline on how to handle issues of internal displacement. Yes we have experience with refugees’ issues but it’s like the internal displacement after the 2007 election caught us off guard despite early warning signs,” he said.
The KNCHR official also added that the National policy on internal displacement once implemented would assist in resettling the IDPs. He also noted that the current system of resettling the displaced had not worked as scheduled.
“Operation Rudi Nyumbani couldn’t help everyone. In reality nothing much changed for some of them. Some moved from one camp situation to another similar camp situation. Then there are those who went back to their farms but were unable to move in so we say they are living in transitional camps. The government says there are about 20 such camps,” he said.
Further, Mr Omondi alleged that the government’s programme of resettling IDPs had been marred by numerous claims of corruption, lack of transparency and accountability.
“It is believed that millions of money meant for the resettlement exercise was lost through corrupt practices by government officials, real and fake IDPs as well as unscrupulous business men. Many IDPs were actually not paid their resettlement package as promised by government,” he said.
The official also disputed figures given by the government indicating that 340,000 people who lived in IDP camps had returned to their homes since the launch of the Rudi Nyumbani campaign. He could not however give alternative figures saying the commission was still monitoring the situation.
The Kenyan government only recognizes 19 self help groups with total population of about 6,800 families and 25 transitional camps with 3,714 families. However, monitoring by KNCHR and other civil society organizations indicates that the number could be higher.
According to the human rights commission there were another 300,000 persons who were already displaced due to political and insecurity crises between 1992 and 2007.