16 February 2013

Kenya: Sixty-Three IDPs Challenge Kimaiyo Gag On Land Ownership Talk

Sixty Three IDPs have moved to court to challenge an order by the Inspector General of Police that barred politicians from addressing the issue of land in political campaigns.

Under a certificate of urgency, the squatters argue that David Kimaiyo's directive constitutes an infringement on their freedoms of speech and expression as protected by the Bill of Rights under the constitution.

Through lawyer Cheryl Onindo, they argue that the government's position on the landless places a discriminatory burden on them because they are lawfully trying to eke out a living from concentration camps.

"We are a living example of historical injustice which manifests in form of squatters, internally displaced persons, absentee landlordism land clashes and never ending land disputes," they said.

They say they have been squatters since 1950 and feel their fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression are under threat.In the court documents, they state that the police Inspector General issued an order in the national media directing that individuals trying to raise issues on land will be arrested and charged with hate speech.

The government's position and that of the Inspector General is unconstitutional, they say, as they are intended to take away the rights of innocent Kenyans in the name of creating national security during elections.

They have sought orders to restrain the AG and the IG from demolishing structures constructed or evicting them in the listed camps or on road reserves within the county of Kiambu.

They also seek orders barring the AG from arresting or curbing their freedom when they demand their rights to land.They further claim that after independence was attained in 1963 the government purchased the land back from the colonialists with the sole purpose of resettling the applicant but it failed to resettle them to date.

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