KNCHR POSITION ON AMNESTY FOR ALLEGED PERPETRATORS OF POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE

KNCHR POSITION ON AMNESTY FOR ALLEGED PERPETRATORS OF POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE
I. Introduction
Recently, a debate in Kenya has raged regarding whether persons arrested in the wake of the post election violence should be prosecuted or granted amnesty. These persons comprise mainly youths from Rift Valley, Nyanza, Coast, Central and Nairobi Provinces who are alleged to have committed diverse offences between December 27th and February 28th. There are conflicting figures as to how many youths are being held and the offences they are alleged to have committed. According to a statement attributed to Agriculture Minister Ruto, around 12,000 youths are being held in police and prison custody following the violence. However, the police dispute this figure and claim that less than 1000 people are in custody.
II. The different shades of arguments
1. One argument made, supporting the case for amnesty, is that by doing what the youths are alleged to have done, they contributed to the formation of the grand coalition government and it therefore does not make sense to have the youths languishing in jail while the politicians they ‘fought for’ enjoy power. It has also been argued that holding the youths in custody discriminates against the poor since politicians who mobilized the youths to those actions are themselves enjoying their liberty.
2. Another argument advanced is that ‘host communities’ are unlikely to cooperate with the return of the internally displaced people (IDPs) while their own sons are languishing in jail. It is a compelling argument from the point of view that the situation is still volatile in some of the regions with some locals threatening not to allow the IDPs to return. Indeed violence has broken out since the return of some IDPs in places like Molo. However this argument is countered by those who say that Kenyans have a right to property and to settle anywhere in the republic and the government should not be blackmailed into releasing alleged perpetrators on the pain of communities sabotaging the IDP return programme.
3. A third argument, rejecting amnesty, suggests that granting amnesty to the suspects would encourage impunity and threaten the rule of law. This would be tantamount to abolishing civilized society and going back to the rule of the jungle. This would also encourage organized violence.
III. Amnesty in other jurisdictions Continue reading

KENYA: Financing boost for small farmers – AGRA, Equity, IFAD

KENYA: Financing boost for small farmers


Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
The cost of food is rising, placing a disproportionate burden on the poor who spend most of their income on consumables

NAIROBI, 6 May 2008 (IRIN) – Small farmers and agricultural enterprises are the main beneficiaries of a financing partnership launched on 6 May to help them break out of poverty and commercialise farming.

“We must insulate our people from the indignity of hunger and starvation,” James Mwangi, the chief executive officer of Equity Bank, one of the partners in the deal, said in Nairobi at the launch of “Kilimo Biashara” (Commercialising Farming).

According to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the partnership represents an innovative solution to the farmers’ credit crunch, with the aim of boosting food security and creating jobs in rural areas.

AGRA, with Equity Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, signed an agreement for a loan facility of US$50 million (Ksh3 billion) to speed up financing for at least 2.5 million farmers and 15,000 agricultural enterprises across the country.

The loan facility will operate against a “cash guarantee fund” from AGRA and IFAD to reduce part of the risk of lending by Equity Bank, AGRA said.
Continue reading

KENYA: Govt raises funds, resettlement ongoing despite hitches

KENYA: Govt raises funds, resettlement ongoing despite hitches


Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) at a camp in Eldoret, Rift Valley Province

NAIROBI, 13 May 2008 (IRIN) – The Kenyan government has raised Ksh1.46 billion (US$22.4 million) of the Ksh30 billion ($462 million) it says it needs to resettle at least 350,000 people displaced during the post-election crisis.

“The magnitude of the destruction caused by the violence was enormous; we will therefore require about 30 billion shillings to meet the full costs of resettlement, including reconstruction of basic housing, replacement of household effects, as well as rehabilitation of community utilities and institutions destroyed during the violence,” President Mwai Kibaki said on 12 May during a funding drive in Nairobi.

Kibaki helped to raise Ksh457,272,129 ($7 million), with donations mainly from government ministries and individual businesses, for the Humanitarian Fund for Mitigation of Effects and Resettlement of Victims of Post-2007 Election Violence.

On 5 May, the government launched a resettlement plan targeting 158,000 IDPs in camps across the country, which has seen some 85,000 IDPs resettled so far.
Continue reading

KENYA: IDPs in Central reluctant to return to Rift Valley

KENYA: IDPs in Central reluctant to return to Rift Valley


Photo: Waweru Mugo/IRIN
Samuel Ngumo Kamau and wife, Teresia Muthoni, and their three-week old baby

RURING’U, 23 May 2008 (IRIN) – Samuel Ngumo Kamau cannot dispel the images of burning houses and Kenyans killing each other from his mind – a key factor in his decision not to return to his home of nearly four decades in Burnt Forest area in Rift Valley Province.

Kamau, a father of 10, who hails from Kamuyu Farm in Burnt Forest, has little trust in the government, which he accuses of “watching and doing nothing” while armed gangs violently ejected him and thousands more from their rich agricultural lands soon after presidential election results were announced in December 2007.

Having experienced the same tortuous treatment every election year since 1992 when the region repeatedly bore the brunt of tribal violence, he feels “enough is enough”.
Continue reading

Kenya Inter-Cluster Team Situation Report No. 23, 08 May 2008: Kenya Post-Election Emergency Response; Cluster – Food Assistance


Kenya Inter-Cluster Team Situation Report No. 23, 08 May 2008: Kenya Post-Election Emergency Response; Cluster – Food Assistance


Situation Overview

Kenya Red Cross(KRC), Government of Kenya(GoK), Office of the President/Special Programmes, and WFP are coordinating the single-food-pipeline and food assistance activities in Kenya, building on the existing food assistance coordination mechanisms in Kenya.

The KRC statistics as of late April showed 157,585 IDPs in 182 camps and an additional 130,000 in host communities. However, with the recent launch by the Government of ‘Rudi Nyumbani’ (Return Home) operation, these figures are expected to change rapidly. Camp registers are expected to be helpful in tracking beneficiaries’ movement.

The security situation has returned to calm in most of the country. Highways were accessible and no post-election related violence was reported. However, a few incidents of road banditry, hijacking of public transport means, robbery and violence against passengers were reported end of last week. The incidents were by no means limited to post-election crisis areas. UNON security mission team is currently visiting post-election crisis areas to review the security situation and recommend a security phase level.

Humanitarian Response Continue reading

Crisis in Kenya: Land, displacement and the search for ‘durable solutions’

Crisis in Kenya: Land, displacement and the search for ‘durable solutions’


Key messages

– Current post-election displacement in Kenya is not a new phenomenon but a recurring trend linked to unresolved land grievances, in a context of poor governance and socio-economic insecurity. This is of concern to humanitarians as the failure to understand the dynamics involved and the implications for recovery can exacerbate tensions and jeopardise attempts to resolve the crisis.

– Humanitarians need to engage with land specialists to ensure that their programming not only avoids exacerbating tensions, but is also consistent with efforts to address the structural causes of conflict.

– Return, relocation and local integration processes should not be promoted as durable solutions in the absence of serious attempts to resolve land-related grievances. If durable solutions are to be found, programmes must take account of those who were forced to move in earlier waves of displacement.

– The government’s urgency in encouraging IDPs to return despite continued political uncertainty and insecurity raises clear protection concerns. This includes both physical security and wider issues to do with rights, community reconciliation and sustainable access to the means of subsistence.

– In the absence of political progress and stability, urbanisation is likely to accelerate as displaced people seek alternative livelihoods.

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UNHCR organizes go-and-see visits for displaced Kenyans

UNHCR organizes go-and-see visits for displaced Kenyans


NYAKINYUA, Kenya, May 7 (UNHCR) – Thirty displaced Kenyans have paid a day-long visit to the Rift Valley Province villages they fled earlier this year, but left for their sanctuaries undecided about whether or not to return permanently. Some were shocked to see the devastation wreaked on their property.

The UN refugee agency organized the ‘go-and-see’ visits on Tuesday to Nyakinyua and Timboroa, setting out from the provincial capital of Nakuru in western Kenya. The visits, requested by the 30 internally displaced people (IDP) taking part, came a day after the government launched an IDP resettlement programme dubbed ‘Operation Rudi Nyumbani’ (Operation Return Home).

The group of 15 IDPs who visited Nyakinyua – all from the same ethnic group – were warmly welcomed by their neighbours from a rival ethnic group, some of whom had turned on them when violence broke out after last December’s presidential election. The inter-ethnic violence left some 1,200 people dead and 350,000 homeless – 90 percent of them in the Rift Valley. Continue reading