Germany urges end to row over Ifo II camp

July 29, 2011 9:27 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – The German government on Thursday appealed to Kenya to resolve the controversy surrounding the opening of the Ifo II refugee camp, to ease the high population arriving at the Dadaab Camp.

Speaking when she hosted Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed – who is the recipient of the German-Africa Award 2011 for his role in pushing for the new constitution – German Ambassador Margit Hellwig said although she appreciated security concerns raised by the government, it would only be humane for Kenya to help the immigrants.

“This camp is ready to accommodate a lot of refugees and I don’t see any good reason why refugees should be blocked,” she said.

Germany which contributed about 63 million Euros to alleviate hunger mid this month through Chancellor Angela Merkel, also donated one million Euros specifically for Somali refugees in Kenya.

Ms Hellwig said the situation at Dadaab camp was getting out of hand with about 1,300 new refugees arriving at the camp daily.

She urged the government and Parliament to agree to allow refugees in the camp to help improve the inhuman conditions at the Dadaab camp where about four to five children were dying on a daily basis.

Mr Mohammed who is the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee chairman pledged to look for a way of involving Members of Parliament to discuss the opening of the Ifo II camp as he admitted that the government had differed on its opening.

“It is really up to the leaders of this country to get out of our comfort zones. I don’t think it should be up to the Internal Security Minister and the Prime Minister alone. The PM has said it should be open and the Internal Security Minister feels otherwise,” he said.

He continued, “I think time has come for people to hear Parliament’s voice on that issue because people are dying, it is our duty as all of us human beings,” he said.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga declared the camp open and already tents have been set up, but the Internal Security Ministry has raised security concerns suspending the transfer of the refugees to the new camp.

Ms Hellwig further expressed sadness that people were dying of starvation in the Northern part of Kenya as she urged the government to come up with long term interventions that will prevent such situations in future.

“It is pretty clear people are dying from hunger in this country. When I look at the global malnutrition index in Somalia and in parts of Kenya this index is worse in Turkana than it is in Somalia,” she said.

Ms Hellwig advised the government to coordinate food supplies in the country since there was a lot of food in some regions yet others lacked any.

Concerning his nomination as the winner of the German Africa Award 2011, Mr Mohammed said he was humbled and that he was grateful to the people he worked with in the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review.

“I am very grateful to the ambassador, to her government and to the German Africa Foundation. It is always gratifying when you get recognised for good work done. It gives me energy to continue with the good work that I do. I take this in their honour knowing that quite a bit of work was done by other people and that fortunately I get the recognition,” he said.

Though he noted a lot had been achieved in the new Constitution, he expressed dissatisfaction that there were many political insinuations hindering the implementation process.

Resources were also other impediments he identified as challenges to the process. However he said he was determined to play his role to see the end product of Kenya’s dream for many years.

He appreciated that key reforms such as in the Judiciary were already on course with the transparent selection of the Chief Justice, his Deputy, judges to the Supreme Court and that hiring of new judges was also on the line up.


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