News 2008


America Gives Sh1.7 Billion as Reconstruction Begins

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

2 March 2008

Karanja Njoroge, Peter Opiyo, Morton Saulo, Joel Okwayo, Jessica Nyaboke, Susan Anyangu, and Jane Akinyi


Reconstruction of structures destroyed during the post-election violence has started after Thursday's signing of power-sharing deal between President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga.

The American Government will provide Sh1.75b ($25million) to help the reconstruction process. In Kibera, the rebuilding of Toi Market has started. Traders who had fled the area are returning.

The US ambassador to Kenya, Mr Michael Ranneberger announced the pledge on behalf of his government. Ranneberger said the money would be used to support the implementation of the political agreement and resettlement of the displaced.

He said the US will also continue to provide funds for humanitarian assistance. The money is being channelled to the Kenya Red Cross Society and various UN agencies to provide food, tents, clean drinking water and health services.

The ambassador promised increased funding and more cooperation between his country and Kenya following the signing of the political deal. Ranneberger was speaking in Nakuru when he toured and met various micro financing groups to find out how they are coping with effects of the post-election violence.

He commended Kenyans for putting pressure on the two leaders to reach an agreement. Ranneberger, however, said the implementation of the agreement and the reform agenda will be a complex and challenging process.

He described the agreement as an important first step to help sustain Kenya on its democratic path. He challenged the people of Rift Valley Province, which bore the brunt of the violence, to set an example through peace, dialogue and reconciliation.

Earlier the ambassador had a paid courtesy call on Rift Valley Deputy Provincial Commissioner Mr Joseph Kimiywi. In Kibera, Jamii Bora Trust, a community based organisation, donated materials for the rebuilding of Toi Market.

However, the traders face an uphill task of replenishing their stock, as their wares went up in smoke. At Mathare camp, the displaced welcomed the power-sharing deal but asked the Government for help them to rebuild their homes.

Ms Mary Kahumba, a victim, said though they would wish to go back to their former homes, they had no houses to return to. Area chief Mr James Weru told The Sunday Standard that since agreement was signed, no violence had been reported.

He said there had been tension before the pact.

Safety of returnees

Elsewhere, KRCS has urged the Government to ensure returnees are safe. The society's Public Relations Manager, Mr Anthony Mwangi, said: "The signing of the deal is still a fresh development. However, it is expected that some of the displaced persons will want to return to their homes. It is important that their security is guaranteed before they leave the camps."

In Kisumu, 15 displaced children are still stranded.

They are among more than 200 unaccompanied children who sought refuge at various internally displaced persons camps in the town during the political crisis.

Nyanza Provincial Children's Officer, Mr Charles Ondogo, said the children are at the orphanage because they have not traced their families.

And in Eldoret, ACK Bishop Thomas Kogo wants all displaced people resettled before the grand coalition is officially formed.

He also called for security for the displaced people who wished to go back to their homes.

Kogo said there will be food shortage if the IDPs do not go back to their farms before the end of the planting season.