15 January 2013

Kenya: Bishops Call Govt's Neglect of IDPs 'A Disgrace'

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
Internally Displaced Persons (file photo): The government has been taken to task by the Human Rights Group for alleged favouritism of certain communities.

Bishops in Rift Valley have faulted the government over failure to complete the resettlement of IDPs and reconstruction of institutions that were destroyed during post election violence.

They were speaking during the 5th memorial service of the Kiambaa KAG church held at the site where more than 35 people were burnt alive during the 2007/8 post election violence.

Led by Bishop Geoffrey Songok of the Reformed Church, they said the state should have made resettlement a priority and be done with it before the March 4 polls.

"Those in charge have neglected their responsibility and as a result hundreds of Kenyans continue to live in camps as IDPs. It is a disgrace," he said.

The service was organized by National IDPs Network whose officials from across the country led by coordinator Kefa Magenyi attended the event.

"We know the Kiambaa families and IDPs in general have gone through hard times since the poll violence but we want to put that behind us and forge ahead as Kenyans," said Magenyi.

Bishop Songok urged politicians in the country to be tolerant of one another and avoid utterances that can cause animosity among communities during ongoing campaigns.

"We are here as a reminder of what happened and we should ensure that it never happens again because its not good for people to loose lives just because of elections or politics," he said.

A man who was among three suspects charged in court in connection with the incident but was later acquitted also attended the service.

Stephen Leting told the survivors that he was wrongfully accused saying as a civic aspirant at the time, there "is no way I would have turned against the same people who had voted for me".

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