InformAction

InformAction

On July 7, commonly known as Saba Saba Day, human rights defenders and civil society organizations took to the streets in Nairobi and other major parts of the country to protest about the shrinking civil space.

Saba Saba Day has been celebrated in Kenya for 31 years now, and commemorates the Second Liberation struggle in the country.

Today, Saba Saba Day is used to call for an end to police brutality and killings, and to advocate for a favourable legal and policy environment in Kenya.

And as sadly expected, police officers, with total disregard to the right to picket, dispersed the protestors using teargas.

The HRDs held hands as they marched along the Nairobi streets singing corrupted gospel songs that criticised the police for violating the same human rights they swore to protect.

At least 20 people were arrested as the CSOs and HRDs marched to condemn youth unemployment and harsh economic times.

United Green Movement party leader Agostino Neto called for courage and verve among the HRDs and stand up against tyrannical leadership that denies youth opportunities.

Neto said the number of unemployed graduates in Kenya needs to be determined and a stipend given to them monthly.

The activists petitioned Parliament to come up with a bill that will ensure no graduate suffers the humiliation of joblessness, yet they have requisite papers to get employment.

“They should be given at least Sh20,000 a month before they can find jobs,” said the former Ndhiwa MP.

He said the government’s Kazi Mtaani initiative is an insult to some of the jobless graduates.

“The Kazi that will help the graduates is not cleaning the roads. Meaningful work that will help the country,” he said.

Communist Party of Kenya’s Sefu Sanni called for economic empowerment of all women in the country.

She said employment opportunities need to be created for women, who, she said, have been discriminated against for far too long.

“So that we are not slaves to marriage, not slaves to our men, but that we can move forth with our dreams as women as well,” said Sanni.

Coast Universities and Colleges Association leader Edwine Shamir said students in Kenya have been raped, maimed and killed with impunity because of the corrupt government, who turn a blind eye on the issues.

He called on the government to invest more in university and college infrastructure so that all students can be accommodated within their learning institutions.

CPK’s Booker Ngesa said it is ironic that some politicians have little or no education yet they are paid huge sums of money in salaries by struggling youth who are learned but have been denied employment opportunities because of corruption.

“Yet these very same people tell our young people that they need jobs and that they should find jobs for themselves,” said Ngesa.

Story By IFA Nairobi Team

Read more...

In 2008, on the eve of coalition government formation, while the country was still reeling from the aftermath of 2007/2008 post-election skirmishes, there was a planned eviction of forest encroachers in Mau.

It was an initiative known as Okoa Mau.

The then Prime Minister Raila Odinga spearheaded the move.

Approximately 3,000 people were evicted from the expansive Mau forest.

About three weeks later, the government, through the Ministry of Special Programs, profiled the evictees and acknowledged them as genuine squatters deserving of compensation.

For three years, the evictees stayed in camps, the Kusumek and Chebugen camps, in Embomos, Bomet County.

The government provided basic needs including food, water and medicine.       

Thereafter, settlement arrangements were put in place, and, in October 2011, the first lot of the evictees was taken to Kipkabus Farm in Uasin Gishu County.

The second lot was taken to Majani Mingi in Nakuru County and Lelaitich (Joba Farm) in Kericho County, bordering Kisumu County.

Lelaitich (Joba Farm) Settlement

Those who were settled at Lelaitich farm were 148 families. Upon settlement, the government provided tents, food and medicine.

A year later, in 2012, a physical planning officer visited the farm and surveyed the land, after which demarcation was done.

The families were then given the two-and-a-half-acre pieces of land each, with allotment letters issued to them.

However, the government developed cold feet when it came to issuing them with Title Deeds to their lands.

Challenges

The families were not without challenges, however.

The Mau area was a wet and generally cold place, and adapting to Lelaitich’s hot and dry weather conditions was difficult.

A section of the population, especially children, succumbed to malaria and typhoid, tropical diseases that thrived in the new area.

It was difficult for the children to access education since schools were far from the farm.

The land belonged to a member of the Luo community, which was uncomfortable with members of the Kalenjin community being settled in their midst.

This brought about tension between the two communities.

At some point, the Luos ridiculed and threatened the Kalenjins saying they be still be evicted. This made the Kalenjins uneasy; keeping in mind they were not given title deeds to their new lands.

Despite the challenges, they persevered and began the struggle to get title deeds.

They formed a committee, which visited different government offices including the Ministry of Lands. They were unsuccessful.  

In comes InformAction

InformAction Kericho Base team visited the farm in 2018.

After screening the film “How to do a successful community action”, the community felt motivated to actively pursue the Title Deeds.

With help from InformAction, the Lelaitich community did a petition that, apart from the title deeds debacle, also sought to have other equally important issues such as water shortage, lack of electricity, inadequate schools nearby, among others addressed by the government.

In protest, they went on a 36km walk with a stopover for a night at Telanet AIC church.

On their way, security personnel unsuccessfully tried to make them go back to their farm saying that their issues were going to be addressed.

The community members persisted with their protest.

The security officers arrested the community leaders, InformAction staff and a pastor at Telanet AIC church.

InformAction reached out to the National Human Rights Commission who demanded the release of those arrested.

Despite the arrests, the community members were not bogged down. They continued with their protest match the next day, determined to deliver their petition.

The petition was received by the Kericho Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai and the then Kericho county commissioner Ali Muktar, who promised to act on it.

Success

After the protest and delivery of the petition, the Lelaitich evictees saw the government act on some of their plight.

Several boreholes were drilled and more water was available for the community. However, some of the borehole projects stalled.

In the same year 2018, a section of the people were connected to electricity. Hopefully, more people will be connected to the national grid.

The community now has access to medication. Once a month, Red Cross and Soin-Sigowet Health Centre provide medicine to the community with a medical camp organized from time to time.

Most importantly in July 2021, most members of the community were issued with Title Deeds to their lands. They are now proud owners of the lands they live in.

This has helped reduce tension between them and their neighbouring community.

Story By IFA Kericho Base

Read more...

On July 22, residents of Tezo in Kilifi County took to the streets demanding the removal of police officers attached to the Ngerenya police station.

The residents, through their Community Action Team, were protesting alleged harassment of residents by officers at the station.

The residents, with the help of InformAction, drew up a petition, which they presented to the Kilifi North cub-county police commander Jonathan Koech, Kilifi county police commander Nelson Taliti and the Independent Police Oversight Authority.

The residents accused the officers of soliciting bribes from small-scale traders and the residents, and forming Kangaroo courts where cases, including defilement ones, which are on the increase, are ‘prosecuted’ with ‘judgement’ delivered within 24 hours by some officers.

Suspects who part with bribes are let scot-free after hours of arrest, according to the residents, who staged a protest match from Tezo market to the station, a distance of about 3km.

“We are tired of being harassed by these officers. We want them transferred and new ones brought,” said Hellen Jefwa, a community leader at Tezo.

Jefwa said some of the police officers at Ngerenya police station sometimes arrest women and girls and force the girls to have sex with them if they don't have bail money.

Ngerenya Community Volunteers chair Claxton Mwalimu said cases of early pregnancies; defilement and child labour are on the rise and are prosecuted at the police station with suspects 'fined' before they are let scot-free.

“It is believed freedom for arrested suspects is sold at a throw   away price at the station,” said Mwalimu.

IPOA, upon reception of the petition, on July 23 inspected the Ngerenya police station.

“From the inspection and the preliminary inquiry conducted, the authority noted that the police station and the community relations were strained,” said IPOA Coast regional coordinator Rashid Wekesa in a letter dated July 28.

The authority wrote the Kilifi North sub-county police commander asking him to form a functional community policing committee to help mend the strained relations between the Ngerenya police station officers and residents.

Koech said investigations into the residents’ claims have been launched adding that police exist to maintain law and order and anything contrary to that is wrong.

InformAction Community Action Team leader Samuel Wandimi said the organization is ready to help bring the residents and police offices together so as to mend their relations.

“A community that lives in harmony with the police will prosper,” said Wandimi.

Wekesa said there are several defilement cases pending at the police station and called on Koech to audit the status of all pending defilement cases reported at the Ngerenya police station with a view to ensuring they are handled to conclusion.

“The victims of these cases should be adequately informed about their cases,” said Wekesa.

He noted that the station should have adequate, skilled and experienced personnel deployed to investigate defilement cases at the station.

Koech said he would ensure that residents should work closely with police with a view to improving their strained relations.

On August 10, Taliti organized a meeting between the Tezo CAT and police officers at the Ngerenya police station where the strained relationship between the residents and the police officers were addressed.

The police and the community pledged to work together in harmony so as to ensure safety of the residents and their property.

 

Story By IFA Coast Team

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed