News / Africa

Rights Groups Demand Justice for Kenyans Displaced by Political Violence

As Kenya gears up for possible elections this year - and as four prominent Kenyans are to have their post-election violence cases tried before the International Criminal Court - thousands of people are still languishing in often-deplorable conditions in camps that they fled to during violence following the last elections. Backed by human rights groups, the so-called IDPs are calling for the government to re-settle or compensate them before new elections proceed.

Inside the tiny burlap-covered tent where Margaret Wairimu lives with her seven children are several secondary school textbooks donated by a well wisher. The textbooks mock her and her teenage son David, since there is no way she can afford to send him to school.

Wairimu and her children have been at Tumaini camp in the Maai Mahiu area since early 2008, after having fled violence that killed her father. She said life in the camp is hell.

“Here, there are many problems. There is no water, there is no food to cook, we do not have clothing, the basic needs for the households are not available. We are waiting for well-wishers to come here and give us food and clothes,” said Wairimu.

In late 2007 and early 2008, the country erupted into ethnic violence following the bitterly-disputed 2007 presidential poll. More than 1,000 people were killed.

Estimates of the number of people who fled such violence range from around 300,000 to more than 663,000, as reported by the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

People fled to hundreds of camps across the country. Through government or donor programs, such as Habitat for Humanity, many of them returned to their homes, were integrated into new communities, or even pooled their government payments together to purchase land as a group.

But thousands still languish in camps like the one in Tumaini, too afraid to go back to their original homes.

Keffa Magenyi is programs coordinator at the Internal Displacement Policy and Advocacy Center based in Nakuru, a group addressing the rights of victims of post-election violence.

Magenyi estimates that there are 29 camps housing more than 40,000 households, and that almost half of the displaced population, or IDPs, did not receive government assistance of any kind.

“You still find a big population of IDPs have not been catered for, have not been resettled, have not gotten justice, have still not gone back to their farms,” said Magenyi.

VOA was unable to get an interview with Minister of Special Programs Esther Murugi despite repeated attempts to do so.

Naivasha Member of Parliament John Mututho is taking party leaders and several ministers to court over the government’s failure to re-settle the IDPs.

He alleges that a network of people is siphoning off assistance meant for the IDPs with the support of people within the government.

“People are getting kickbacks. People do not want the problem to be sorted out because they gain. The president [Mwai Kibabki] has been very candid: two weeks, end of the month. But they somehow confuse him and he has to give new deadlines and extend others,” said Mututho.

He also is calling on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission not to draw up electoral boundaries for the next elections until the IDPs have been settled.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More