December 18th 2017

Top Stories / National

The presence of 'IDPs' at Parliament raises new questions on resettlement

Upon their arrival in the country, the 534 IDPs were given Sh100,000 to start off their lives in a place where they had left seven years ago and the remaining money was to be channeled a few weeks later.

By Lydia Tokesilydiatokesi95@gmail.comFriday, 21 Oct 2016 15:30 EAT

Many unanswered questions are being posed to the purported Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camping outside Parliament buildings despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assurance that all 2007/08 Post Election Violence IDPs were settled. Many are wondering whether they are fraudsters or real IDPs as they claim to be with others asking why they don’t have their National Identity Cards  with them if they claim to be Kenyans. Others are pondering why they can’t claim their original land from the Lands Ministry if it is true they were displaced from it.

It’s unfortunate that the government has been quiet instead of asking the ‘IDPs’ from Uganda to clarify the above pertinent questions before considering compensating them. Hundreds of returnees from Uganda, who claim to be victims of post-election violence in 2007-2008 have been camping at parliament for three weeks now without anyone paying attention to their grievances.

They claim to have returned from a refugee camp in Tororo in Uganda – a place they now wish they did not leave – after the Government promised to not only allocate them some land to start their new lives. Upon their arrival in the country, the 534 IDPs were given Sh100,000 to start off their lives in a place where they had left seven years ago and the remaining money was to be channeled a few weeks later.

The issues on the IDPs within the country has been a critical issue that has taken quite some time to be dealt with in the country. The president Kenyatta two years ago announced that all IDPs had been resettled and therefore there were no more left within the country since they had all been settled. Then the question is are these real IDPs? Did the government know and why  were they ignored? Why haven’t they been settled? The numbers are still increasing and more are yet to come but how is the government going to handle the issue on IDPs?

One of the IDPs claimed that she wasn’t poor before the political violence. She was born and raised in Western Kenya and had rental houses worth Sh4.5 million. “I was not poor…but voting for the leader of my choice has destroyed my life completely,” a teary Ann Wambui said in an earsplitting voice. Though her rental houses were torched the land she owned is still there and she can easily reclaim it by visiting the ministry of lands and go through a procedure that will enable her to get her land back even though she may not have the title deed.

Almost all the IDPs have a copy of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR) identification documents given to them while at the refugee camp but before they left the country they had their identification cards with them. Then another question arises; can’t the government help them through Huduma Centre initiative get their identity cards back as Kenyan citizens.

It seems the government has casually handled the issue of IDPs and despite doing a great deal of settling most of the IDPs, forgotten to check whether they have settled fraudsters and not the real cases. The number of IDPs camping at parliament is huge and continuously increasing as the days go by which is alarming and therefore the government needs to handle the issue as soon as possible before the parliament gates are turned into a camping site.

The writer is a student of Communication and Public Relations at Moi University and intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.

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