NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 9 – Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on Thursday moved to the Nakuru High Court to compel the government to release funds allocated for resettlement.
Through their lawyer Bernard Akang’o, the IDPs want the court to direct the Finance, Special Programmes and Lands ministries to act following delays in the disbursement of funds meant to resettle them.
“We have gone to court to seek an intervention of the court to compel the concerned ministries and the Attorney General to actualise the promises they have been making to my clients. They have gone ahead and identified the land but what remains is money,” he said.
The lawyer said they had received responses from the AGs office, asking the victims to identify pieces of land of their choice.
He said the government in its sentiments has showed commitment to resettle the IDPS but regretted that the three ministries kept on shifting blame despite the policy documents showing there is money allocated for settlement of the IDPs.
“Up to now we don’t know where this money is. We are told there is money set aside but somebody somewhere seems to be feeding on this money. The ministries keep on shifting blame to each other. Someone is not willing to release this money,” he decried.
He said their case will be heard on March 20.
The IDPS who turned in their thousands at the Nakuru High Court for the case were dispersed by the police.
Akang’o who condemned the act said it was unfair for the police to chase them away yet they were peaceful and did not interfere with any businesses.
“This is a misguided action by the police. I don’t know why they intervened and yet these were people who were not rioting. They peacefully attended the court and only that the judge who was to hear the matter was not there, and we were referred to the registrar, they discussed the way forward but they were not rowdy in anyway,” he explained.
Akang’o is representing IDPs not just the ones affected by the post election violence but also others displaced through political violence in other years.
Following the 2008 post election violence, about 350,000 people were displaced, some are to date living in camps in several parts of the country.
Others classified as integrated IDPs are living with friends and relatives.
The government has maintained that money has been set aside to resettle the IDPs.
Kenya’s problem of internally displaced persons due to election violence dates back to the 1992 and 1997 general elections according to a report done by Intergraded Regional Information Networks (IRIN) in 2011.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission also estimated that 50,000 people had been displaced before the 2007 post election violence.