JIENJOY

Saturday, March 20, 2010

20 BULLS & 30 GOATS

The Endorois community will on Saturday converge on Lake Bogoria for a ceremony to celebrate a landmark ruling by the African Commission, which returned the lake to them.

The celebrations are the climax of a 12-year journey in which the community engaged the government in a legal battle over ownership of the famous lake in Baringo District.

The Endorois were pushed out of the area in the 1970s when the lake was turned into a national reserve.

After a lengthy battle in local courts, which yielded nothing, the matter was moved to the African Commission in the Gambia, where a ruling that put the government in the spotlight was delivered in February.

The AU ratified the ruling by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on February 2, which said that the government erred when it displaced the local people from their ancestral land without compensation.

The Gambia ruling ordered that the Endorois be given unrestricted access to Lake Bogoria and surrounding sites to graze their livestock and for cultural rites.

The government was also ordered to compensate the community, whose population is estimated at 62,000.

The ruling puts the government in an embarrassing position as it has to find ways of implementing the ruling or risk international condemnation.

Mr Charles Kamuren, the community’s spokesman, said some 20 bulls and 30 goats will be slaughtered to celebrate the ruling, which is seen as a victory for minority groups in Kenya and Africa as a whole.

Lands minister James Orengo and his Sports colleague Helen Sambili are expected at the event.

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