Murugi under fire over IDPs relocation

April 6, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 6 – Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi found herself in a dilemma during Wednesday morning \’s Parliament session after MPs accused her of neglecting a section of Internally Displaced Persons.

The stormy session of Parliament was sparked off by claims that the minister was taking the matter of the resettlement of the IDPs lightly.

Ms Murugi however stated that her first mandate was to settle the \’livelihood IDPs\’ (those who lost their businesses) and not the landless.

"The IDPs displaced from the Rift Valley in camps did not own land in the Rift Valley but were renting houses in towns and their livelihood was stopped meaning businesses stopped," she said

Narok South MP Nkoidila ole Lankas Minister wanted the government to indicate the number and particulars of Internally Displaced Persons who are still in camps and also state their current locations.

He wondered why the government was overlooking landless people in Narok and why was it causing tension by bringing people from other parts of the country to be resettled there?

Ms Murugi\’s attempt to use a clause of the Constitution that guarantees Kenyans right to settle anywhere was shouted down by MPs who challenged her to resettle the IDPs where they had originally come from.

The Speaker got her off the hook when he directed that she gives a comprehensive report in two weeks time on the national situation on the IDPs.

MPs Millie Odhiambo, Ekwe Ethuro, Nur Abdi and William Kabogo accused the minister of discriminating against the integrated IDPs (those who sought refuge with their relatives after they were uprooted from their homes).

"In Mbita, Suba, Kuria and Kisii the list was sent and nobody has been paid.  When you ask the Provincial Administration they tell you that they were told that the list was submitted late. Even they are frustrated they are saying is there a deliberate attempt to cut off certain communities," said Ms Odhiambo.

She further claimed that the findings of a parliamentary select committee probing the re-settlement of IDPs showed that the so called integrated IDPs we staying in centres where they paid rent and were not being hosted by relatives as the minister claimed.

"Your own DCs have written to your office on the issue of integrated IDPs which cover only the areas in Nyanza and even you area of central so can the minister I not in the know can you admit you have not done you job and let us deal with the issue otherwise by the time we bring our report it will be too late," said Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo.

Mr Ethuro, who also chairs the select committee, told the House that the members of the provincial administration cited increasing frustration with the national government had failed to respond to their communications on the IDPs.

Attempts by Assistant Minister Lee Kinyanjui to help out the Minister on a point of information only earned him the wrath of MPs and the Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim after he claimed that the issue of IDPs was being used to whip up emotions in order to sway attention from the Ocampo Six.

"I want to bring to the attention of the House that there is a clear by section of this House to try and whip up the issue of IDPs especially now that we have cases going on at The Hague," said Mr Kinyanjui.

"Honourable members this is not a fish market, when a minister stands up on a point of information, it is to give facts that are in the domain of the government not political opinion," Deputy Speaker said as he ruled the Nakuru Town MP grossly out of order.

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