IDPs fate tied to ending power play

As Government moves to tackle the problem of internal refugees, it should give consideration to negative reactions to the Grand Coalition Government.

While some leaders are working to reassure refugees it is safe to return to their farms, others are sending mixed signals to their constituents with complaints that their communities or political parties were short-changed in Cabinet appointments. In some areas, these individuals are in a position to make the resettlement of land-owners from other communities quite difficult.

Having agreed compromises were necessary to form a government, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should rein in these discordant voices and their dangerous rhetoric. Their meeting tomorrow with leaders from the Rift Valley Province should address this and other signs of opposition to a return to normalcy.

The resettlement of the displaced is a priority task, key to national cohesion and the reconstruction of the economy. That it has to happen ahead of the resolution of long-term issues being dealt with in mediated talks makes it a political and practical challenge. But return they must, until answers are found through mediation.

Grumbling from local leaders on Cabinet or even the use of the National Humanitarian Fund could complicate the resettlement programme and poison the chances of reconciliation and resolution of long-term issues. It must stop.

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