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VAS

Here comes 'independence' day for eastern, northern districts

BUSIA
By | August 27th 2010

By ALI ABDI

Residents of upper Eastern consider Friday’s promulgation of the new laws as ‘independence day’.

Inhabitants of Isiolo, Marsabit and Moyale — part of former Northern Frontier Districts — attribute their woes to the outgoing laws.

They claim under the current Constitution, the region had been placed under a state of emergency after Independence.

This, the residents say, restricted their movement and subjected them to poverty.

"The residents were denied their rights of movement. Today, we celebrate a new dawn. It is like Independence for us," said Ismail Galma, a councillor in Isiolo.

He added: "Colonialists drafted policies that deliberately locked northern Kenya out of economic development. These policies were adopted by Kenyatta and Moi regimes.

We never felt like part of Kenya under the outgoing law."

They spoke at a meeting in Isiolo to discuss gains pastoralists would get from the new Constitution. The forum was organised by Isiolo Women for Peace and the Africa Peace Forum.

total suffering

Speakers said the colonial and successive independent governments subjected them to suffering.

Mr Jarso Mokku, a lead facilitator for the Africa Peace Forum, said residents had not felt like they were Kenyans because the Constitution discriminated against them.

"Let’s all go out and celebrate the new laws in our own way even if by shaking hands," said Mokku.

He said the new law had given them all they needed to grow socially and economically.

"You used to blame the President or MPs for your woes. Friday would be the switch date, where power would be transferred to you. Thereafter, you will have no one to blame if you do not get what you want," he said.

They formed a committee to monitor the implementation of the new laws, with a view to ensure legislations would cater for their interests.

Counties

The residents were enthusiastic the power would be decentralised to counties. The also want justice done so that they can be compensated for killings that occurred during the ‘Shifta’ war of the 1960s.

Meanwhile, preparations for celebrations to mark the promulgation of the new Constitution are complete in South and Central Rift regions.

Rift Valley PC Osman Warfa will lead residents of Rift Valley in marking the fete in Nakuru.

Mr Warfa said districts would hold celebrations simultaneously.

In Kericho, DC Samuel Njora said the celebrations would be held at the Kericho Green Stadium, where Western Rift Regional PC Bernard Leparmarai will be the chief guest.

In Kipkelion, DC Adan Harakhe will preside over the event at Kipkelion Baraza Park. Church and civic leaders from Kipkelion have been invited to the ceremony.

Additional reporting by Peter Mutai, Leonard Korir and Karanja Njoroge

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