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We won’t vote until we are resettled, say IDPs

Over 5,000 Internally Displaced Parsons (IDPs) protest in Turbo. (Photo: Duncan Ocholla/Standard)

A group of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is crying foul over the government’s resettlement programme saying they have been ignored.

The over 5,000 IDPs who were evicted from their homes during the 1992, 1998 and 2007 election clashes have threatened not to participate in the August polls if they will not have been resettled.

Their cries come after President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over Sh358 million to IDPs in Kisii last month for compensation and resettlement. He also handed another Sh472 million to another group of integrated IDPs in Nyamira affected by the 2007/2008 violence.

There are hundreds of resettlement cases pending in Kakamega, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia courts.

“At one point the High Court in Bungoma gave it back to me but the man now living on the land I bought in 1968 in Mt Elgon even before he was born got an injunction and the matter is still in court unresolved as I live as an integrated IDP in Kimilili,” says James Nyongesa, who was displaced from his 15 acre piece of land.

In Kitale, Rasto Wanyonyi 82, who was displaced from Kaptama also in Mt Elgon, lives with his family as an integrated ISP. His land case has dragged on for 23 years now.

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In Bungoma, Peninah Nanjekho, a widow narrates how she has been drained by legal fees paid to lawyers since 1997, when she was evicted from Saboti.

“We were first evicted in 1992, when our house was destroyed but the family moved back until 1997 when we were attacked again,” she said.

The IDPs want President Kenyatta to fulfill the promise he made to them last year of resettling and compensating them before the General Election. “Politicians ask us to vote for them on grounds that they will ensure we are resettled.

When they rise to power they forget us,” said Albert Were.

Western Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwaga advised them to present their grievances to the Department of Special Programmes for verification.

“You cannot demonstrate and force the government to compensate you. Some of the IDPS are not genuine and want to make a kill by frustrating government efforts of resettling those who were affected by post polls violence,” said Chimwaga.

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