By ROSELYNE OBALA
A human rights organisation based in Mt Elgon District, Bungoma County, has been accused of embezzling funds meant to assist people in the region.
Teso Peace and Human Rights Development Initiative, which aimed at enhancing interaction and dialogue between Government agents and locals, has been running activities since 2010.
The rights body was targeting victims of sub-clan clashes, which gave rise to Sabaot Lands Defense Force, an outlawed militia group that committed atrocities against residents.
The organisation’s director Cleophas Okisai was at pains to explain how they used Sh4 million.
During a meeting convened in Cheptais District for civic leaders and chiefs, residents demanded an audit report on the group’s expenditure, arguing that the organisation has been in the region for some time yet there is little to show for it.
Sasur ward council Nathan Wasame noted that the group is about to launch phase two of the programme yet locals still hold grudges against each other.
“They alleged to have spent Sh4 million towards the project. Our people have not forgiven each other or healed from the atrocities,” he said. He stated that as leaders, they want to know the breakdown, utilisation and evaluation of the phase one funds.
“We want transparency. A detailed report must be issued,” he said. Wasame alleged that NGOs have crowded the region in pretence of supporting locals yet they are in real sense doing business.
“This trend should stop. The organisations must be active on the ground,” he said.
Sasur chief Jonathan Komon stated that already the rights groups have received Sh5 million for phase two of the project, dubbed inter-ethnic cohesion. “The clashes were not ethnic but sub-community,” he said.
Okisai had a difficult time convincing the leaders who attended the meeting that the alleged monies were properly utilised.