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No end in sight for IDP money row

By Erick Abuga | Published Mon, June 19th 2017 at 00:00, Updated June 18th 2017 at 23:19 GMT +3

Some of the internally displaced persons from the 2007 post-election violence queue to verify their names on the compensation list in Kerina, Kisii South. Most of their names are missing from the list.[Photo: Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Plans to resettle thousands of people displaced by the 2007 post-election violence have been thrown into deeper confusion.

Immediately after President Uhuru Kenyatta issued two cheques worth Sh850 million for the integrated IDPs in Nyamira and Kisii countues, the two regional county commissioners suspended the compensation following claims the exercise had been infiltrated by imposters.

Reports indicate that more than half of the people claiming compensation may not be genuine IDPs.

Still, the Government is under pressure to pay up.

On Friday, more than 1,500 IDPs from Masaba South and Masaba North staged demonstrations in Keroka town, accusing the Government of abandoning them and listening to imposters instead.

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About 3,000 IDPs from Bonchari (Kisii South) also took to the streets on the same day demanding an explanation on who drafted the official list of beneficiaries.

Kenya Commercial Bank staff were at the Kisii South assistant county commissioner's office verifying the list and promised payments could start this week.

Jammed office

Some of the IDPs who lost their limbs and those whose family members died in the violence jammed the office demanding an explanation on why their names were missing from the list.

Assistant Commissioner Kepkoech Kigen assured them that the Government had put measures in place to ensure that fake IDPs did not receive any funds.

"The Government is keen to ensure that only genuine IDPs get compensation. We have had lengthy meetings with the security team and anybody sabotaging the process will be arrested," said Mr Kigen.

The Standard has learnt that a good number of  names on the list are not among the genuine IDPs who had been integrated in their families since 2008.

Most of the assistant county commissioners who have been verifying the list through their chiefs and church leaders told The Standard that more than half of the people appearing on the list were never displaced from any part of the country.

An assistant county commissioner in Kisii, who did not want his name revealed because of the sensitivity of the matter, expressed concern that a retired chief from his area had listed his wife and six members of his family as IDPs.

"We also have incidents where some people are not aware that they are listed," said the administrator.

Crooked people

Last Wednesday, Kisii County Commissioner Samuel Njora said the Government was aware that some names had been inserted by crooked people out to get a share of the compensation money.

Mr Njora promised that the list would be made public to allow residents to participate in the verification process. He said IDPs who had initially received Sh10,000 were not entitled to further compensation.

Opposition leaders from the region are now accusing the Government of lacking a resettlement plan. Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire and his Kitutu Chache South counterpart Richard Onyonka said the Government had shown lack of commitment in the matter.

"Presumably the Government is using the exercise as a campaign strategy. This makes a mockery of the families that lost their loved ones and property they invested in for many years."