End refugees' misery

Every day voices speak out for why President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga should agree on sharing the spoils of Cabinet offices, and complete the formation of the grand coalition government.

A coalition government, they say, is critical for getting the economy back on course. The country needs to heal the wounds caused by the post-election, they argue.

There are critical reforms of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), and the need to investigate what went wrong with the December elections, they hold.

And, most crucially, everyone seems to agree that the disgrace and national scandal of more than 300,000 Kenyans displaced and living hellish lives needs to end; and they can only be resettled once the grand coalition has been sorted out and the people are sure that violence will not break out the following morning.

Strangely, the one group that almost no one seems to mention any more are the more than 6,000 Kenyan refugees in Uganda. Kenya had until January been spared the scourge of having thousands of its citizens living as refugees.

While IDPs are suffering because of camp conditions, and the loss of their homes and livelihoods, the refugees are suffering all those things and something more – they are virtually “stateless” and as refugees, have little or no political rights.

The need to stabilise the country and return these Kenyans home is probably the greatest reason why the political quarrel over the Cabinet must end.

It is a national shame that politicians who are already enjoying the fruits of being Kenyan more than the rest of the country, in their desire to get more, have effectively taken away citizenship from the Kenyans who are refugees.

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