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Conflict over land was on Monday cited as the main cause of violence between communities in the Rift Valley.

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Members of the Kalenjin community told the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission that their kinsmen were moved to ‘reserves’ by white settlers in the highlands.

This was done to pave way for the establishment of settlement schemes, which “were later dished out to Kikuyus” after independence in 1963.

According to the Kalenjin, the Kikuyu who benefited from their ancestral land were either imported from other regions or were working for the European settlers.

However, Mr Michael Mwangi Kimani from Sorget defended the Kikuyu against claims that the Kenyatta regime gave them free land.

“I am a teacher and the land I have was allocated to me by my father. It has genuine title deed and was bought from white settlers at independence,” said Mr Kimani.

Embattled Truth commission chairman Bethuel Kiplagat chaired the public hearing at Kenya Forestry Service Training College at Londiani in Kipkelion district.

The commission, which is investigating historical injustices from 1963 to February 28, 2008, listened as the people spoke about the conflict that led to the 2007 General Election chaos.

Kipkelion was one of the areas hit hard by post election violence, which left more than 1,300 people dead and another 650,000 displaced.

Representatives of the predominant Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities who were involved in the violence differed during their presentation. But they both agreed that the main cause of the violence was land.

Ethnic group

Mr Joseph Soi from Londiani claimed the translocation of names from the Kikuyu ethnic group contributed to animosity and called for their immediate scrapping.

The speakers urged Mr Kiplagat not to listen to those urging him to quit.

The local MP Mr Magerer Lang’at defended the TJRC team saying certain politicians wanted it disbanded because they feared they would be exposed.


About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.


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