Wednesday, 28 September 2011

TJRC – Truth, Truth and more Truth

This is less of a blog post, and more of a debrief session.  I spent Monday and Tuesday in Naivasha, to attend the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission hearings.  I got to hear 5 witness testimonies.  It was eye-opening, gut-wrenching, among other things.  I wasn't informed as to whether I could take pictures, so I'll try and get some pictures when I attend the TJRC in Narok this weekend.  Here's a rundown of what I heard:

1.  Somali Community - Land issues, forcible evictions, homes destroyed, attacked by people 'using the government as an umbrella', women and children assaulted, livestock destroyed, denial of citizenship (inability to get ID, birth registration).  In 2006, received a 'Letter of Allotment', giving them some of their land back.  Land taken over anyways by government institutions.  Somalis were discriminated against during the 'Shifta' issues in the 1970s (even in Naivasha, which is far from Northern Kenya).

2.  Children Services Community Worker - Issues of Forced Labour, Child Defilement, Child Prostitution, Forced Marriages, Female Genital Mutilation, and Child Trafficking.  Shocking reports on Child Labour in Kenyan Flower Farms.  Hugely underfunded/supported by the government.

3.  Maasai Community - Issues of Land claims, forced evictions, discrimination, 2005 aerial attacks by the government - while they were fleeing, soldiers came and raped their women and children. No investigation done.  Geothermal Powerplant - encroaches on their land, steam vents affect their land, kill their livestock, and probably affect the health of the Maasai as well - no compensation, no oversight.

4.  IDP Coordinator (Internally Displaced Peoples) - Issues:  Forced evictions, Loss of life, tribalism (through political incitement), loss of livelihood, resettlement - 1992, 1997 and 2007 evictions...this has been an ongoing trend.

5.  Nagati Farmers Association - Some land claim issues.  But, to be honest, this witness stood up at 8pm, and my mind was in no state to adequately comprehend anything further.

That is a really short synopsis of the testimony.  The first hand accounts of some of the violence and injustices that have occurred were at times overwhelming.  There is a lot for me to wrap my head around, these days, so hopefully my head is up for the challenge.

As a nice bonus to attending the TJRC hearings, I was able to drive through the rift valley on the way to Naivasha...

...and today is National Freedom of Information day here.  I attended a press release with some colleagues, where we advocated for an open and transparent government.

And, I should take time to mention the passing of Wangari Maathai, who died yesterday.  She was a national hero and an international sensation, and if you have a spare moment, you should read her book "Unbowed: A Memoir".  It's a great look at her life, and an interesting illustration of some of the issues that have affected Kenya over the years.

Off to Narok for Friday.  Maybe some climbing this weekend, alafu, rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.