Archive 2002


Another Ogiek diaspora is threatened
by Jennifer Wanjiru, Rights Features Service

(April 3, 2002) Some pockets of the Ogiek community who live in Narok district in southwestern Kenya are on the verge of eviction from the land they have resided in for ages.

The threat was issued by the Narok District Commissioner, a Mr. Kimiywi, who ordered the Ogiek to vacate their homes in Enoosupukia by April 8.

The move has created fear among the Ogiek and they feel they might not be able to present their views to the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, a body that is collecting people's views on a new constitution.

The plight of the Ogiek community residing in Narok district is little known with most of the media coverage centered on the Ogiek of the Mau Forest. Another Ogiek group resides in Mt Elgon area along the Kenya-Uganda border.

In a plea issued today by Saina Sena, the chairman of Ogiek Peoples National Assembly (OPNA), an umbrella body that brings together different Ogiek groups and organisations, the body asked the government to "cease intimidating, harassing and violating human rights of the Ogiek people."

Sena confirmed that the provincial administration had " threatened [to] use force" on the honey-hunting community while The Ogiek Rural Integral Projects, a local community-based organization he leads, asked the Ogiek "not to comply with the orders."

"The Narok District Commissioner and the District Forest Officer have confirmed that the orders are in place and will be executed. The Commissioner confirmed to me that the land Ogiek reside and live in is a Trustland and belongs to the Government," said Sena in his statement.

Although other Kenyan communities have trustlands allocated to them, the Ogiek have none, a historical anomaly that has led to the current tussle for land.

The eviction orders come in the wake of an agreement by Ogiek organizations to press for the issuance of a communal title to their lands to keep away land speculators.

Last week at East Mau Forest the Ogiek decried the ongoing destruction of their land vowed to resist the destruction of the forestland.

"Kenya is undergoing a historic process, reviewing her constitution and the Ogiek are putting their views known for their ultimate recognition as a distinct indigenous nation among the many nations in the Republic of Kenya. If the government continues threatening the Ogiek people, they will not participate in the review process, hence a blatant violation of their fundamental rights as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution," said Sena.

What you can do

Call the Narok District Commissioner: +(254) 305-22385 and ask him to spare the Ogiek.