Statements at Eldoret meeting worry the displaced
Published on April 26, 2008, 12:00 am
By Biketi Kikechi
Statements at President Kibaki’s and Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s rally in Eldoret have raised fresh concerns among the displaced.
The refugees expressed fears yesterday that they would be risking their lives if they returned to their homes.
The chairman of the Eldoret IDP camp, Mr Stephen Mwangi, said that the 17,000 IDPs were now more worried than they were before the President’s visit on Thursday.
Mr Mwangi: “Wabunge wa Rift Valley walitamka mambo yaliyotutia hofu sana. Wakimbibizi wengi sasa wanaogopa kurudi mwakwao kwa kuhofia maisha yao. (The utterances by some Rift Valley MPs were very scaring. The IDPs fear that they would killed if they returned to their homes),” Mwangi said.
During the peace meeting in Eldoret, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey said all those who were evicted from government forests in Rift Valley should be resettled along with the IDPs.
Agriculture Minister William Ruto demanded for the immediate release of people arrested for allegedly fanning ethnic violence.
They also asked for the reinstatement of chiefs sacked for allegedly failing to stop the violence._
“Truth must be told otherwise we will be deceiving ourselves that all is well. Those people (evicted from forests) must be resettled just as the IDPs,” said Kosgey.
The Eldoret IDP camp secretary Simon Njoroge, who was evicted from Nandi South, said the IDPs had expected President Kibaki to set a tentative resettlement programme.
“We are disappointed that the leaders said nothing new, apart from the demands made by Rift Valley leaders,” said Njoroge.
The IDPs, however, said they were grateful to the Pesident for visiting the camp to see the deplorable conditions of refugees.
Most of the IDPs interviewed said they were now worried about their future as there is no political goodwill to hasten their return.
Meanwhile Bishop Eliud Wabukala of ACK Bungoma has asked leaders to be very careful when addressing the resettlement.
“Any conflicting statements are prone misinterpretation and make it difficult to resettle IDPs,” said Wabukala.
The bishop and other members of the National Anti-Corruption Steering Committee, who met at the Eldoret Showground IDP camp yesterday, said political leaders must reconcile communities.