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Minority Rights Activists Reject Kenya's Proposed Constitution


In Kenya, a group representing the interests of minorities and indigenous peoples has come out against the draft constitution – which will be accepted or rejected by voters on November 21st.

The Centre for Minority Rights and Development in Nairobi says the proposed constitution does not address issues of importance to marginalized groups, such as affirmative action or land rights.

Korrir Singoei is the executive director of the centre. He tells English to Africa reporter William Eagle that the proposed constitution makes no reference to pastoralists and to groups that have had problems owning land, or reclaiming rights to traditional lands. These include the Turkana, Endorois and Ogiek ethnic groups. Supporters of the draft constitution say it ensures minority empowerment in part by decentralizing government decision making to local and regional levels, making it easier for marginalized groups to exercise power over their own districts. They also say the document allows groups to take any complaints over land to a national land commission. But Mr. Singoei says that under the proposed constitution, public land management, including game reserves in areas inhabited by minorities, will be managed by the federal government.

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