NAIROBI (AlertNet) – More than 3,700 people who have lived in tents since being displaced by Kenya’s 2007/08 post-election violence have invaded a private farm 200 km (124 miles) from Nairobi, asking the government to buy the land for them, The Standard reported.
Some 660,000 people were chased from their homes when violence erupted after a disputed presidential election in 2007. There have been delays in resettling them, despite repeated promises from the government to buy land for those who do not feel safe to return home.
“We have been in IDP (internally displaced person) camps for about four years and the government has continuously asked us to be patient. We have decided to move to these farms so that the government can proceed and buy land,” Tabitha Nyakeyo from Karuru IDP camp in Gilgil, told the paper, adding that they would not leave the farm in Subukia.
The displaced at Mumoi farm are receiving aid from the Kenya Red Cross.
“When we came here two days ago we found that there were a high number of children and the elderly. We need support from Government to ensure the conditions here improve,” Patrick Nyongesa of the Kenya Red Cross told the paper.
He said the families needed clean water and sanitation facilities.
A local government officer, Subukia District Commissioner Mwangangi Mwania, said a local politician had hired a convoy of vehicles to transport the displaced to the farm, according to a report by IRIN.
"Someone hired the vehicles and directed them to this area; it must be for some political mileage,” he was quoted as saying.
He was reported as saying that a politician had hired vehicles to transport some IDPs to Mumoi farm without ascertaining whether or not the government would purchase the land for the displaced.
Living conditions in the camps for displaced people are pitiful, with vulnerable people falling sick and dying due to lack of shelter, food and medical care.
“We have watched as some children die because we cannot take them to hospital,” Rose Wanjiku of Jikaze camp in Mai Mahiu, 55 km outside Nairobi, told The Standard.
The local Member of Parliament John Muthotho told the newspaper there are over 100,000 internally displaced people living in the Naivasha area. The government only recognises about 7,000 families as displaced.
(Editing by Rebekah Curtis)