News 2008


Displaced people returning home in Rift Valley

March 5, 2008


By Steve Mkawale

Life is slowly returning to normal for thousands of people uprooted from their homes by post-election violence that rocked Nakuru and Molo districts.

On Tuesday, The Standard witnessed some of the displaced people from Kuresoi, Mau Summit, Sirikwa, and Mung’etho returning home after months of fear and uncertainty.

"Although there is still fear and suspicion among us, we are returning to till the land to ensure we do not lack food," said Monica Wanja, as she alighted from a matatu at Mau Summit trading centre that was reduced to ruins.

Last December, Wanja, 39, fled from her home with nothing but her three children aged between five and 15.

She was optimistic that normalcy would return to Mau Summit after the bloody skirmishes that left her homeless.

"We have to return to our farms. The two leaders (Raila and Kibaki) are now in the same Government. But we want this Government to address our plight once and for all," said the peasant whose life entirely depends on tilling her three-acre farm.

Although most of those returning to their farms in Molo District were determined to stay, they were afraid.

"We just came to cultivate our land in preparation for the planting season and return to the camps where most of us spend the night," said Mr Peter Macharia of Mung’etho farm in Kuresoi.

They were optimistic that with the signing of the coalition deal, peace would prevail.

Most of those who lost property in Kuresoi and Molo constituencies owned land there.

A large number of them decided to remain in the camps and wait for the security situation to improve before they could return to their farms.

Outgoing Molo DC, Mr Muhammad Salim, said the Provincial Administration was overseeing the repatriation.

"We want people to return to the farms and start rebuilding their lives. Life must go on," he said.

The displaced people, however, said it would take time for them to live normal lives.

"Most of us lost property. Our houses were either torched or looted. How do we lead normal lives?" posed Grace Nyanjama who was evicted from Kuresoi.