Kenya + 2 more

Kenya Humanitarian Update Jan 2003

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The new Government has moved steadily towards addressing corruption in the country. The war against corruption intensified with t he arraignment in court of a High Court Judge on forgery and receiving money on false pretence. Earlier, the government had suspended payment of pending bills owed to Government contractors. In addition, traffic policemen caught by TV cameras receiving bribes were sacked and others transferred. In addition, the government has nullified irregular sale of prime government houses and proposed a programme of re-training and sensitisation of police cadres in such a way that they acquire a more humane and less corrupt face. The Lands Ministry ordered a suspension of land allocations and investigations into all allocations effected in the previous four years. The local Government was also stopped from effecting fresh land allocations. In the forestry department, ten forest officers were sacked earlier in the month for destroying forests. The National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) promised to eradicate corruption. It showed its seriousness by publishing three Bills that are prerequisite to setting up an anti-graft commission in its first month of taking over leadership. The Bills are: Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, which will pave the way for setting up the new authority. The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Bill, which sets out the rules under which the commission will work, and the Public Officer Ethics Bill which will require all public servants - including Cabinet ministers and MPs - to declare their wealth on taking office. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to resume lending to Kenya in July depending on whether the government fulfils anti-corruption pledges made to the fund and the new government's funding requirements. IMF had imposed five conditionalities before it could resume lending. They are the passage of anti-corruption and government ethics Bills in Parliament, strengthening of the Attorney General's powers to prosecute, evidence of the three measures bearing fruit and production of a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Internal security continued to be on the high agenda for the new National Rainbow Coalition Government (NARC) after a sect of Kikuyu fundamentalists known as Mungiki struck twice during the month. In Nakuru, they killed 23 people while in Nairobi they killed two people.

The government granted the sect followers amnesty saying those who surrendered to the police and denounced the sect by the end of January would be pardoned. For those who refused to accept the amnesty and continued to endanger public safety, the government allowed the police to shoot to kill. Most government managed primary schools have been grappling with over-enrolment since the introduction of free and compulsory education when schools reopened after the Christmas break. The policy affects children in public schools only. It was estimated that three million eligible children were out of primary school because of the numerous levies charged. There are more than 17,000 primary schools countrywide, with a population of 6.2 million children. In Tana River District seven schools failed to reopen after the December holidays due to lack of pupils. The pupils' parents were relocated after being displaced by recent floods. Arrangements were, however, being made to resettle the parents in their original homes so that the children could go back to school.

Hundreds of people were displaced by flash floods in Kisumu after two days of heavy downpour. Presence of the hyacinth weed in rivers and silting up of canals that drain into Lake Victoria had complicated the case. According to weather forecasts, the Lake Victoria Basin, highlands West of the Rift Valley and Central Rift Valley (Kitale, Kakamega, Nandi Hills, Kisumu, Kisii, Kericho, Eldoret, Homa Bay, Nakuru and Narok) were expected to experience the highest rainfall in the country. A study commissioned by the UN Disaster Prevention, Management and Co-ordination Unit (UNDPMCU) has established that Kenya has 43,617 identifiable displaced families resulting in some 348,936 internally displaced persons. The research found that of the originally displaced, some have returned to their farms while some access their farms only during the day, but live in rented accommodation in town. Others were relocated on alternative land provided by the government while some were resettled by church-based groups, particularly the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Catholic Church. While others sold their land and either returned to their 'ancestral homes' or drifted into urban and peri-urban areas. About 50 states in the US have been identified to accommodate the 10,000 Somali Bantus to be re-located from Kenyan refugees camps for resettlement. They are to be airlifted from the refugee camps in batches of between 300 and 500 every week until all are settled.

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