Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No cheers over The Hague trials in North Rift region

By Biketi KikechiPost-election violence victims in Mukunga village in Lugari District in the North Rift are following proceedings at the International Criminal Court with little enthusiasm.
The scars of the violence have not healed two years after the blood bath, which displaced more than 350,000. Most victims from Mukunga now reside at Matunda trading centre along the Eldoret–Kitale road in rental houses. They will be watching events in the ICC keenly, because they were the first to bear the brunt of the deadly chaos.
Mr Paul Karanja Mwaura and wife Mary Wanjiru Karanja visited their deserted farm along the Uasin Gishu-Lugari boundary yesterday, where the ruins of the four-bedroom house remain a sad reminder of the good country life they once enjoyed.
"We do not see anything good out of this Hague court because we do not understand why the six are being charged. We cannot return to our farms because our large family cannot fit in the small two roomed mud houses constructed for us by the Government," said Karanja. His house, his farm store with 300 bags of maize he had just harvested and other farm structures were reduced to ashes after hundreds of armed youth attacked his home at 6pm on December 29, 2007.
The homestead was burned more than 12 hours before Mr Samuel Kivuitu, the chairman of the then Electoral Commission of Kenya announced the disputed results.
Many other homes including Samuel Kamanda’s were burned the following day, again before the results were released, while others were torched as ODM and PNU leaders argued over the results at the KICC tallying centre.
Like the rest, single mother Sylvia Wamboi, Jotham Kirimi, Stephen Njogu and Jane Kamanda were pessimistic about what the proceedings at The Hague will achieve.
"So what will happen to us after the trials at The Hague?" asked Jane.
Her husband Samuel became depressed and relocated to Nyandarua and vowed never to return to his 39-acre farm at Mukunga, leaving her with some of their children at Matunda.

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