The Ogiek
An in-depth report by John Kamau, Rights Features Service

Chapter 8
The Aftermath

NOTES  

With the High Court ruling, the fate of the Ogiek remains precarious. President Moi has publicly warned that people should not tresspass into the Ogiek forests. On 31 March 2000 some 11 members of Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) were arrested after they were caught speaking to Ogiek community members. The 11 were taken to court and remanded in custody and their bail application turned down.

On April 1, Moi once again said that the Ogieks were "being incited" by human rights activists in move widely seen as an attempt to influence the case facing the KHRC activists. He said that the government would not hesitate to arrest the inciters.

The 11 human rights activists were arrested for performing theatre to a group of children while conducting a civic program among the Ogiek community.

107 Kenna Claude, "Ogiek leaders now arrested", The People, 3 April 2000.

  And on 3 April three Ogiek leaders, Ezekiel Kesindany, Susan Chepkemei and Paul Rono were arrested. Kesindany and Chepkemei were charged with holding an illegal meeting and incitement. The charge sheet said they were charged with holding public rallies at Sotik primary school without notifying a regulating officer. This was in reference to the civic education tour of the KHRC officials. Also arrested107 was Chepakundi councillor, Paul Rono, who had been arrested following the cancellation of a public rally he had called to discuss the Kiptagich land, which borders Moi's Kiptagich Tea Estate.
108 Gacheru Kamau, "Rights body members dodge police dragnet", The People, 9 June 2000.  

Following all those threats human rights activists are now forced to enter the Ogiek land incognito.108 Police dragnets have been put into place to trap those trying to enter the Ogiek forests.

"No amount of intimidation will deter us from educating the Ogieks says KHRC's land rights officer Lumumba Odeda.

109 Amnesty International, "Human rights defenders arrested for acting in front of primary school children" News release, 31 March 2000.  

Although the KHRC officials were released by Molo court of the previous charges this followed protests by international human rights organisation, Amnesty International.109

The Ogiek elders say that if they lose the case at the Court of Appeal it will take its case to the international court.

"We will take this case as far as we can possibly go until we find the justice we deserve. We have lived in Tinet since time immemorial, and we are determined to stay there forever, despite what the government says", says Ezekiel Kesindany.

But as matters stand the threat and continued infiltration of the Ogiek ancestral land continues. If this matter is not resolved amicably and the rights of the Ogiek to their ancestral land restored there is danger of an all out ethnic strife in Central Rift Valley.

110 Joseph K. Towett, interview and written submission dated 3 August 2000.

 

The Ogiek say they have a reason to disown the settlement. The Ogiek leader, Towett told us110 in interview that the purported programme had to be disowned for the following reasons:

a) To us it is an assimilation programme

b) It is a genocide plan between communities, jockeying for power and control over natural resources.

c) It is an economic solution serving a small section of the people.

d) It is a short-term political gain at the expense of a possible environmental disaster.

e) The decisions of planning and implementing the scheme was/were done by the concerned authorities without our involvement.

f) The community (Ogiek) is being used as Trojan horses in a game they did not know.

g) The community's name is being used at abetting the theft of country's resources by the "State House land grabbers" under the pretext of settling squatters. MORE>>

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Ch. 1: Ogiek: History of a Forgotten Tribe
Ch. 2:
The Struggle Begins, The Struggle Continues
Ch. 3:
The Closed Society

Ch. 4:
Wanton Destruction
Ch. 5:
Promises and More Promises
Ch. 6:
Threats and Lies
Ch. 7
: The Court Battle
Ch. 8:
The Aftermath

Appendix
Pt. 1:
The Ogiek Community Submission before the Njonjo Land Commission
Pt. 2: Epilogue
Pt. 3: Conclusions
Pt. 4: Recommendations

Annex 1: Declarations on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
Annex 2
: The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights
Annex 3:
Legal Instruments that Govern Land in Kenya

The Ogiek: The Ongoing Destruction of a Minority Tribe in Kenya Copyright © 2000 Rights News and Features Service. Citations on this document may be made freely but copyright is vested in Rights News and Features Service. Unless otherwise stated all the views expressed here are those of the authors and are endorsed by Rights News and Features Service, which is responsible for the content in this publication. First published in Nairobi by Rights News and Features Service, First Floor, College House, University Way, P.O. Box 63828, Nairobi, Kenya. Phone: +(254-2) 311724. E-mail: rightsfeatures@alphanet.co.ke. Copies of the report may be ordered from Rights News and Features Service.

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