OCHA Kenya Humanitarian Update vol. 10, 05 – 12 March 2008

OCHA Kenya Humanitarian Update vol. 10, 05 – 12 March 2008


HIGHLIGHTS

– Security forces strike at Sabaot Land Defence Force militia in Mount Elgon area
– Differences emerging over power-sharing pact
– Cautious return of IDPs in Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia districts
– Most Kenyan refugees at Ugandan transit site ask to be moved
– Schools, camps hosting IDP children need sanitation facilities urgently

The information contained in this report has been compiled by OCHA from information received from the field, from national and international humanitarian partners and from other official sources. It does not represent a position from the United Nations.

I. General Overview

While there is optimism for permanent peace in Kenya due to the power-sharing pact signed between the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), a new row is brewing over the powers of the president, vice president, prime minister and deputy prime ministers.

Announcing the structure of the new coalition on Monday, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura said the president would remain head of state and government and would retain powers to appoint the prime minister and his two deputies and cabinet ministers. However, the ODM balked at this saying Muthaura did not have the mandate to interpret the agreement. The disagreement, unless clarified, could awaken raw public feelings tempered by the signing of the accord 28 Feb.

The mediation teams from both parties have been holding talks to address Agenda Item No. 4, which focuses on long-term issues and solutions. Discussions under this Agenda item will examine and propose solutions for long standing issues such as, inter alia:

– Undertaking constitutional, legal and institutional reform
– Tackling poverty and inequity, as well as combating regional development imbalances
– Tackling unemployment, particularly among the youth
– Consolidating national cohesion and unity
– Undertaking land reform
– Addressing transparency, accountability and impunity

Efforts to build on the peace accord got a boost on 5 March when all 134 participants of a UN and government-sponsored Emergency Volunteer Scheme designed to promote conflict resolution, peace building and reconciliation in their neighbourhoods received their certificates of participation. The volunteers completed an initial two-week orientation and training session that they are expected to use in promoting a culture of peace, positive attitudes, a sense of responsibility and pride in their communities. As UN partners in peace-building, they are expected to act as role models. Many of the volunteers actively took part in or were victims of post-election violence in Nairobi’s Dandora, Kibera and Huruma slums, the initial areas identified for the launch of the project. The project aims to promote national reconciliation and ensure slum neighbourhoods remain safe for their residents. The plan is for the programme to be introduced to similar communities in western Kenya and the Rift Valley.

The peace accord also prompted the UNHCR in Eldoret to gauge the reactions of IDPs. The team visited Eldoret ASK Showground, Burnt Forest (in Uasin Gishu District) and Noigam (in Trans Nzoia District). Generally, IDPs expressed reluctance to return to their areas of displacement until solid government assurances were received regarding security; a comprehensive system was in place to compensate for or restore their lost properties; and resolution of the land issue and land property rights. Land reform is one of the six items that remain to be discussed in the ongoing Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation talks. A large number of IDPs, who lost their livelihoods and properties, are skeptical about receiving compensation or restitution. Thousands of people displaced in the land disputes of 1992 and 1997 have still not received compensation or durable solutions. Nevertheless, the establishment of a one-billionshilling (about US $15.76 million) Resettlement Fund may provide the means for financing durable solutions for IDPs.

For more information, please contact:

Jeanine Cooper: Head of OCHA Kenya, +254 (20)7625155, jeanine.cooper@undp.org;

Rania Dagash, Desk Officer, Africa I Section, OCHA-New York: +1 917 367 3668,), Dagash@un.org;

Christina Bennett, Spokesperson and Public Information Officer, OCHA-New York: +1 917 367 8059, +1 917 435 8617 (mobile), bennett1@un.org;

Elisabeth Byrs, Public Information Officer, OCHA-Geneva: +41 22 917 2653, byrs@un.org.

Full_Report (pdf* format – 197 Kbytes)

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