By: PATRICK LANGAT
Victims of the 2007 post-election violence have dismissed the government campaign to block use of recanted evidence against Deputy President William Ruto as a waste of public funds.
A strong government delegation has been in The Hague seeking review of a rule that allows admission of evidence by uncooperative witnesses.
The cost of the trip has been billed at Sh100 million.
According to some of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Western Kenya, the cash should have been used to compensate them.
Kenya is at The Hague to oppose application of the controversial Rule 68 that allows admission of recanted evidence in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case facing Mr Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang’.
Mr Nelson Owegi, the chairman of the 18,000-member Nyanza Internally Displaced Persons Network, on Tuesday said that it was immoral for the government to sponsor a delegation to the nine-day Assembly of State Parties (ASP) at The Hague when they were languishing in poverty.
“They (government) are now using millions of taxpayers’ money in the ICC to get the case against DP Ruto re-looked, while the victims of the skirmishes are never mentioned. Who will fight our course when government machinery is only deployed for the accused?” Mr Owegi asked in an interview Kisumu.
He added: “Our colleagues in the Rift Valley and central Kenya are being paid Sh400, 000 and Sh200, 000, while in western, we get Sh10, 000. Is it proper for the government to marginalise us?”
Mr Owegi was referring to a compensation drive by the government led by the deputy president and former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru in the Rift Valley in October.
In the drive, each of the 25,000 families received Sh200, 000. In September 2013, families in Rift Valley and Central were given Sh400, 000 each.
This disparity in the IDP resettlement triggered a Senate committee probe in October, in which the senators wanted the use of the Sh15 billion for IDPs resettlement audited.
“It’s a shame to give a person who has lost all he or she had in such circumstances Sh10, 000 and ask them to reconstruct their lives. It becomes even more painful when it is disclosed that another person was given Sh400, 000,” Kisumu senator Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o told the House during the debate.
Early this month, Amani Coalition leader Musalia Mudavadi waded into the debate, accusing the government of ignoring IDPs in western and Nyanza.
“I am asking the government to treat every Kenyan equally. There should never be special IDPs where some get between Sh10, 000 and Sh40, 000, while others get Sh400, 000 plus for resettlement,” said Mr Mudavadi in Naivasha.
On Tuesday, Mr Owegi said their push to be properly compensated will not end soon.
“We will talk and talk until we are heard by the government,” he said.
The organisation has started a verification of the register of those under its membership assisted by the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
“We have finished verifying documents from all our members in Kisumu, before we go to Siaya. We are doing this so that the government will have no excuse not to compensate us,” he said.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION