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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Kenya: Too scared to go home

Kenya: Too scared to go home


RUMURUTI, 28 March 2008 (IRIN) – A month after clashes erupted in Kenya’s Rift Valley district of Laikipia West, calm has returned but internally displaced persons (IDPs) are yet to return home, with leaders voicing concern over the acquisition of guns by communities living in the area.

“Let us not confuse calmness for peace while ethnic animosity persists,” Frederick Sisia, the new district commissioner for Laikipia West, told a peace and reconciliation workshop on 26 March in Nyahururu, the district’s headquarters.

“The truth be told, and let’s be honest with one another: there is no community which is not buying firearms now. Every community must surrender these firearms during an upcoming planned disarmament.”

The clashes, pitting the mostly pastoralist Turkana and Tugen communities against the dominant Kikuyu ethnic group, began in early March following the killing of a suspected Turkana rustler. Since then, at least 25 people have died and over 8,000 have been displaced in the district. Continue reading