“The violence happened in 2007. Was I the President? Who was the Prime Minister? Who was the Vice President? Who was the Foreign Affairs Minister? Who was the Deputy Prime Minister? Now if I’m late in paying, why didn’t they pay when they were in government? Who between me and them is late? It is them.”- President Kenyatta commenting on compensation of IDPs at a rally in Bungoma on June 11
Are opposition leaders to blame for failure to compensate IDPs?
In February 2016 Deputy President William Ruto announced the release of Sh1 billion to complete the resettlement of the remaining Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). That amount, according to the National Coordination Consultative Committee on IDPs, which was appointed to coordinate resettlement of IDPs, brought the total amount used to resettle IDPs to Sh17.5 billion from 2008.
With most of the IDPs who were living in camps resettled and compensated, the chairman of the NCCC Mr Adan Wachu said the government had turned its attention to the integrated IDPs.
On March 25 this year, President Kenyatta while on a visit to Kisii County said that the IDPs who were integrated in Nyamira and Kisii counties would be compensated in April.
On June 6, according to the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit, the President issued a cheque for Sh358 million at Masimba Secondary School playground in Kisii with a promise of another Sh 460 million issued to Nyamira County IDPs the following day.
But on June 14, just two days after the Bungoma rally, the government suspended compensation of IDPs following claims that the exercise had been infiltrated by imposters.
CLAIMS OF DISCRIMINATION
About 663,921 people were displaced during the post-election violence, according to IDP data from the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
Consequently, when the National Peace Accord was signed in February 2010, Agenda Two of the agreement called for “provision of humanitarian support to IDPs and restoration of fundamental rights”. It was this condition that made the government and other partners initiate support to IDPs.
By January 2011, then Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta published a report indicating that the Government had allocated almost Sh8 billion to resettle IDPs.
The amount included grants from the Chinese government, Unicef and UNDP. According to the report, by the end of the 2010/2011 year, the government had spent more than Sh9.8 billion on IDPs.
The resettlement programme has faced challenges among them claims of discrimination against integrated IDPs who had returned to their ancestral homes in Western Kenya.
The President was in the Coalition Government along with then Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, and Moses Wetang’ula as Foreign Affairs Minister.
If opposition leaders are culpable for not resettling or compensating all IDPs, then Mr Kenyatta shares the blame.
Moreover, the three opposition leaders were not in Government the last four years. The President’s assertions are not consistent with previous statements by government.
Read: Before you vote: The truth about integrated IDPs