Uhuru Nyanza tour: Rights groups want compensation for victims of 2017 'resist' killings

David Oteno is assisted by his wife Carolyn Moraa at their Nyalenda home in Kisumu County on January 19 2018. [Collins Oduor/Standard]
Rights groups have demanded that President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses compensation for 2017 post-election violence victims when he visits Kisumu tomorrow.

President Kenyatta is expected in Kisumu tomorrow where he will launch the piloting of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) before moving to Siaya where he will be conferred with a honorary degree at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology on Friday.

Yesterday, rights groups said they recorded at least 21 deaths before and after the August 2017 election violence, with over 400 other people wounded.

He said thousands of jobs were also affected during the period, rendering hundreds of thousands of people jobless.

Handshake details

“All these cannot be just assumed, especially at this time that people are still not aware of the details of the agreement which followed the handshake,” said Kisumu City Residents Voice chairman Audi Ogada.

“They suffered because of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. Once they (Uhuru and Raila) decided to bury the hatchet, there must be some consideration for the welfare of the victims,” he said.

The groups also want a special committee formed to identify the real victims of the election violence for compensation.

Muslim for Human Rights’ rapid response officer Francis Auma said Nyanza region had suffered in the hands of the previous regimes for being considered an opposition zone, and expressed hope that the handshake between Raila and Uhuru would help turn around its fortune.

“The issues of police brutality during elections are still clear in the minds of these people. The issues of economic and political injustice are still there, and this handshake must be used to change the narrative,” he said.

County leaders will also be pushing for the compensation of more than 200 Integrated Internally Displaced Persons (IIDPs).

Early this year, displaced persons from Bondo sub-county questioned the government’s move to compensate only 70 IIDPs in the region leaving out the majority uncompensated.

According to their coordinator Mr James Ngesa Ajuma, the criteria used by the Government to select beneficiaries for compensation left out more than 900 people displaced during the 2007/08 post-election violence.

Meanwhile, church leaders in Nyanza want Uhuru to allocate more funds to counties in the region. In a memo they plan to present to the President, the church leaders want the national government to put up intensive care units in all referral hospitals in Nyanza.

Speaking in Kisumu yesterday under the umbrella of Kisumu County Clergy Fellowship, the church leaders said there was an acute shortage of medical specialists in the region.

In Siaya, residents want Uhuru to address a list of unfulfilled pledges, including the Sh400 million expansion of Bondo Technical Training Institute.

In early 2015, Deputy President William Ruto visited the county and promised that the government would allocate the money for the construction of the second phase of the institution.

He also promised the tarmacking of Bondo-Nyangoma-Liunda road.

East African Legislative Assembly member Oburu Oginga said he was looking forward to seeing the college formally commissioned.

“The Government had promised to allocate Sh400 million for the construction of the second phase of the college and we are expecting the president to also officially open the institution,” said Dr Oburu.

The immediate former Bondo MP also called on the President to fast track the construction of Goye bridge.

“The construction of this project was affected by the President’s announcement that new projects be frozen. Goye Bridge is an old project and he should order that a tender be awarded for its construction,” he said.

During the tour, the President is expected to address the Bondo Cluster Irrigation Infrastructure, whose feasibility study was completed more than six years ago.

The project, which consists of four schemes, was expected to cover 3,200 hectares at a cost of Sh3 billion.

“When he (the President) visits, he will be able to tell us the status of the project since its detailed design for irrigation system had been completed,” said Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda.

According to the MP, Uhuru's visit will also provide an opportunity to revive and upscale the blue economy in the fishing sector.

“The construction of the Sh70 billion World Bank-funded Lake Victoria ring road will only be beneficial to us when the fishing industry is revived,” he said.

 [Report by Kevine Omollo, Kepher Otieno and Isaiah Gwengi]

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Rights groupsPresident Uhuru KenyattaUhuru visits KisumuPolice Brutality victimsRaila Odinga