Taxpayers will now foot the bill to relocate, reintegrate and resettle internal refugees after President Kibaki assented to a law that places the responsibility of handling internally displaced persons (IDPs) on the State.
The Internally Displaced Persons Act establishes a fund that will draw money from the Treasury and be channelled towards food, housing, medical supplies and grants for IDPs to help them restart their livelihoods.
Kenya has already spent about Sh15 billion on IDPs’ resettlement since the post-election violence and the newly-created Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Fund is expected to streamline such operations.
“The Fund shall be used for meeting the capital and recurrent expenditure relating to the protection and assistance to internally displaced persons and the provision of a durable solution,” reads Article 15 of the IDPs Act. “The government shall bear the primary duty and responsibility to facilitate the administration of settlement areas for internally displaced persons.”
President Kibaki assented to the Act on Monday, guaranteeing Kenya’s 12,623 IDPs protection, help and resettlement.
Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro sponsored the new law, which is modelled on the Great Lakes Protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement which Kenya is signatory.
The new fund will spearhead all humanitarian efforts in relocating and integrating IDPs, replacing the Humanitarian Fund established in January 2008 to resettle Kenyans affected by the post-election violence which displaced more than 600,000 people.
Finance minister Njeru Githae allocated Sh1.8 billion in the current budget to “bring to closure the issue of IDPs”. His predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta had allocated Sh4.2 billion to resettle all IDPs.
Mr Peter Kariuki, the national chairman of IDPs welcomed the new law saying it will help cut the political interference in the procurement of land for the internal refugees.
The 15-member National Consultative Coordination Committee on Internally Displaced Persons established by the Act is expected to list all IDPs by the end of March and submit to Parliament a report on internal refugees.