In­te­grated IDPs threaten to skip elec­tions, cite ne­glect by state

Why should we vote? We voted in 2013 so that our prob­lems would be solved. But the state does not recog­nise us, de­spite many vis­its to gov­ern­ment of­fices, they say

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - GE­ORGE MUGO @ge­o­mu­goh

In­te­grated In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons have threat­ened to boy­cott the 2017 gen­eral elec­tion, al­leg­ing the gov­ern­ment has ne­glected them.

They said it would be im­ma­te­rial for them to vote, yet the same vote ex­posed them to suf­fer­ing and ab­ject poverty.

The IDPs yes­ter­day urged the gov­ern­ment to help them re­turn to their for­mer homes in the Rift Val­ley and give them funds to be­gin a new life.

They spoke at Ki­rathimo so­cial hall, Limuru con­stituency.

Chair­man David Kar­iuki said the state has failed to recog­nise them, de­spite their per­sis­tent vis­its to var­i­ous gov­ern­ment of­fices.

“Why should we vote and yet when we voted in 2013, we had been promised that our plight will be re­solved. We were dis­placed from our homes in early 2008 af­ter the 2007 dis­puted pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­sults,” he said.

“Many peo­ple lost their lives, our prop­erty was de­stroyed and live­stock stolen by our ag­gres­sors. We were left des­ti­tute to this day.”

The IDPs urged the Ki­ambu gov­ern­ment and well-wish­ers to give them fi­nan­cial sup­port to help them start in­come-gen­er­at­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to up­lift their lives.

“Some of us can start car washes, sell farm pro­duce at the mar­ket and carry out other ac­tiv­i­ties to earn a liv­ing,” Kar­iuki said.

For­mer Limuru MP Peter Mwathi urged the na­tional and county gov­ern­ments not to take the is­sue for granted but re­solve it.

“The gov­ern­ment has set­tled many IDPs. There are only a few re­main­ing. I feel that both lev­els of gov­ern­ment have a role to play to im­prove the IDPs’ lives. The is­sue should be han­dled with a lot of care be­cause it deals with peo­ple who have suf­fered,” he said.

Mwathi asked elected lead­ers, in whose ar­eas in­te­grated IDPs are still ac­com­mo­dated in cheap rental houses and peo­ple’s home, to take the is­sue to Par­lia­ment.

“They have con­tin­ued to keep quiet about the is­sue. They should ta­ble the is­sue for dis­cus­sion un­til some­thing is done,” he said.

/ JACK OWUOR

Kenyan refugee re­turnees from Kiriandingo set­tle­ment in Uganda shield them­selves from the scorch­ing sun as they stage a sit-in at Par­lia­ment Build­ings on Oc­to­ber 24. The 534 fam­i­lies, who were forced out of their homes dur­ing the 2007-08 post­elec­tion vi­o­lence, camped out­side Par­lia­ment for more than three weeks, de­mand­ing com­pen­sa­tion

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