William Ruto's conditions for resettlement of IDPs

Today, the President and Prime Minister visited Eldoret Show ground which is hosting many IDPs displaced during ODM's mass action in January and December. They later held a public rally at Kipchoge Keino stadium.

Kibaki and Raila face the challenge of making sure that no Kenyan is a refugee in Kenya. Many of the IDP camps are located in the Rift Valley. A number of Rift Valley MPs are opposed to the resettlement programme proposed by the government echoing what their constituents are saying. Several South Rift MPs have come out to strongly oppose resettlement a view that is seen in some quarters as an attempt to use IDPs as a pawn in their political game after being denied cabinet positions.

Human rights were violated in the Rift Valley with indiscriminate killing of Kikuyus and destruction of their property supposedly for voting for the current president. There have been claims of historic land injustices in the Rift Valley that the Kalenjin community want addressed before any resettlement. There is pressure for the government to settle the IDPs in Central province where they came from before they bought land in the Rift Valley. Large tracts of land owned by the Kenyatta family are the target of such settlement. In a way this will also be an implementation of ODM's Majimbo manifesto.

This settlement of IDPs from the Rift Valley raises fundamental questions. One it is a bad precedent if the rule of law is to prevail in Kenya. Crimes against humanity were committed and it is only fair and just that people are not allowed to break laws with impunity. The Kikuyus in Rift Valley bought land legally and that should be paramount and upheld. Secondly, how far back is claim to ancestral land justified. On independence day, on the scramble for Africa or when the earth and the heavens were created? Before the Kalenjin in the Rift Valley were the Maasais who also owned Nairobi. Should the Maasais also arise and claim their ancestral land?

The other side of the coin is that forced resettlement of IDPs will not work. No amount of police posts and presence will guarantee the returnees of their safety. The best protection is your neighbour. If your neighbour turns against you, then you are in hot soup. How are IDPs supposed to face their neighbours who murdered their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters in broad daylight? How are they to relate with the neighbours who are wearing their stolen clothes, rearing their cattle, filled their granaries with the IDP's harvest? It is a high time the truth, justice and reconciliation team got to work. There is need to tone down ethnic animosity between the IDPs and their former neigbours.

Back to Ruto, the Minister for Agriculture, a person perceived in some quarters as a warlord who plotted and funded ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley. He gave the president three conditions for the resettlement programme:

  1. That all the people arrested and accused of ethnic cleansing of the Kikuyu community be released
  2. That all the chiefs and sub-chiefs who were sacked for non-performance during the January, February pre-meditated clashes be reinstated
  3. That the Government promise Rift Valley farmers that the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will be compelled by the government to pay farmers on the spot on delivery of farm produce. He reinstated that NCPB will be selling CAN fertilizer to the farmers at a cost of Kshs 1,650 instead of 4,000.

Bookmark the permalink.