Kenya IDPs: Nicholas Nyanumba: “We voted but our leaders are not helping us”
Photo: Ann Weru/IRIN
|Nicholas Nyanumba believes the government’s compensation plan is inadequate|
NAKURU, 2 July 2008 (IRIN) – Nicholas Nyanumba is one of 12,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) living in a temporary camp set up in the show grounds of the Rift Valley town of Nakuru.
Nyanumba was displaced when fighting broke out in his hometown after the disputed presidential election in December 2007. The former resident of the Kisimaa area in Nakuru talked to IRIN about his experiences and why he is resisting government pressure for IDPs to return home.
“All that we owned was burnt; we have no businesses or property to return to. We are now being fed as we have nothing, even the clothes we are wearing do not belong to us.
“At night we look for a place for the children to sleep as they cannot fit in our tent; already we are three families sharing a tent.
“We are being offered 10,000 shillings [US$150] to restart our lives – this money is too little.
“What can you do with the money? Do you pay rent, buy a mattress or what? If you are sick, who will take care of you? It’s like leaving a newborn child on the road for a Good Samaritan to help; if there’s heavy rain … well.
“Instead, the money being spent investigating the post-election violence should be used to help us. We should deal with the present not the past.
“Being asked to leave the camps right now is like leaving hospital when you are unwell and being told to go buy medicine only to find you cannot afford it. Then, you cannot go back to the hospital to ask for a cheaper prescription.
“We are being told there is no security out there. Most of the police posts are far [away]. Here, we sleep in peace. An old injury just needs to be poked a bit and the pain becomes fresh again.
“The camp is not like a school where you know there is a place to go back to when the term ends.
“Why aren’t those who went to Uganda as refugees being forced to return home? Why were those Kenyans who were attacked in South Africa told they would be compensated for their businesses?
“We are not refusing to leave the camps; we are just saying that if we are compensated for our lost property, they won’t see us here.
“We voted but our leaders are not helping us. If you keep lying to a child, the child ends up hating you.
“That is why I cannot fill in the form saying that I am going back.”