26 September 2008

Kenya: Thousands Are Still Stuck in IDP Camps

The Waki Commission on post-election violence was on Wednesday putting final touches to its report as it emerged that over 80,000 people who were affected were still languishing in camps around the country.

And at least 220,000 others were still living on doles from the Kenya Red Cross, in their homes and refugee camps spread around the country.

Details on the status of the uprooted people comes a day after former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan who brokered the peace accord singled it out as one of the foremost outstanding issues to be resolved.

He was in the country to receive the Kriegler report and meet with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga and issued a statement on his departure on Monday.

The statement said in part: "The situation of IDPs is on the minds of virtually all Kenyans I met. A durable solution must be found expeditiously."

Members of the Commission of Inquiry on Post-election Violence headed by Mr Justice Philip Waki remained holed up at a retreat in South Coast and promised the report would be handed to President Kibaki even before the October 15 deadline.

And the Nation received from the Government and the Red Cross details of the status of internally displaced people in the country, the Kenyans who paid a heavy price following the disputed presidential results that precipitated mayhem.

The focus shifted from Kriegler report that analysed the flawed electoral process, which was released last week to the Waki commission.

The secretary George Kegoro declared: "We have enough evidence to recommend measures to prevent the country from witnessing the violence it did after the 2007 elections".

Mr Kegoro, who spoke exclusively to the Nation from Mombasa, said that the commission was progressing well in its final leg of writing a report.

"We don't believe it was intended that we would get everybody if this was intended, we would have been given more time, but our responsibility was to point out how issues of post-election violence should be dealt with," he said.

The violence that plunged the country into the darkest hour in history left over 1,000 dead and 350,000 others displaced from their homes.

Special Programmes permanent secretary Ali Mohammed told the Nation that there were 7,690 people still living in camps in Nakuru, Eldoret and Naivasha, while another 76,400 are living in another 129 satellite camps around the country.

These are camps that were set up by the Government as transit centres when the settlement programme began in May.

The combined government details of 84,090 still in camps and 220,000 being taken care of by the Kenya Red Cross would leave a large number unaccounted for, nine months later.

Mr Ali described cases dealt with in Uasin Gishu districts and Molo area as the "most difficult" where most satellite camps still remain.

Other areas in the Rift Valley where satellite camps have been set up include Kipkelion and Koibatek, he added.

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