For three decades now, the ping pong over the resettlement of displaced families has continued with no solution in sight. Every election cycle, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) become a political pawn as politicians abandon moral leadership to engage in blame games and ethnic profiling. Since the first multi-party elections of 1992, thousands of Kenyans have been dislodged from their homes by political and land clashes. The situation became worse in 2008.
While some IDPs still reside in camps, a good number have been integrated in communities and are coping well. Since 2008, more than Sh26 billion has been spent on resettlement but the problem refuses to go away.
In 2013 alone, the State compensated 19,000 IDPs in 80 camps. In December 2016, Sh6 billion was set aside for 90,000 IDPs. And at the height of campaigns last year, more money was dished out in Kisii and Nyamira to resettle IDPs. But still, camps are strewn allover. Thousands are living in squalor in Kisii, Kakamega, Ol Kalou, Nakuru, Vihiga, Migori, Marsabit, Mombasa and elsewehere.
Resettlement Committee chief executive Patrick Njagi admits the problems is far from over. According to him, another Sh1.9 billion given in the Supplementary Budget will have to be spent to sort out the mess. That the government isn’t even sure about how many IDPs are yet to be settled is even more worrying. The State should keep records to weed out cons posing as displaced persons. And as President Kenyatta begins his second term, he should pronounce himself on what he plans to do to solve this matter once and for all.