News 2007

 

Mt.Elgon Genocide Update!

02.04.2007

POK PEOPLE STOP GENOCIDE AGAINST CHEPKITALE OGIEK

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Chepkitale Ogiek have lived in the entire moorland and forest of Mt. Elgon since time immemorial. In Mt. Elgon District they are the Minority indigenous people with a population of more that 5000 families. They are the only known hunter gatherer community (Ogiek), however, currently they have diversified their livelihood to agri-pastoralist (Ogiik) due to government ban on hunting.

During the advent of colonialist the Chepkitale Ogiek were treated as a different ethnic community like any other communities around Mt. Elgon. They were nicknamed the Elgonyi or Mt Elgon Masaai or the Ndorobo. In 1911 they colonial government gave them their own Native Chief called Sangulu, while the other communities in the area had their own chiefs namely Kasis, Tendet and Kimengich. Later in 1921 there was a sabotage whereby the Chepkitale Ogiek chief was demoted to be Assistant/sub Chief while the others maintained their status quo that was the start of marginalization and oppression of Chepkitale Ogiek. However, during the Land Carter Commission of 1932, the Chepkitale were still recognized as a distinct community and were given their native reserve called Chepkitale Native Reserve which is derived from the Chepkitale Ogiek. Further still, the Chepkitale native reserve was recognized after Kenya's independence, from the British rule, and was re-named Chepkitale Trust Land.

Due to continued political and economic oppression cum marginalization of Chepkitale Ogiek, Mt. Elgon County Council with the help of former MP convince the independent government of Kenya that the Chepkitale Trust land be converted to Chepkitale Game reserve which was accepted on 6th June 2000. Without saying anything, this was a serious violation of human and land rights of the Chepkitale Ogiek by transforming their ancestral land to be a game reserve in the expense of the minority community's livelihood.

When President Kibaki government took power, the current MP followed the foot steps of his predecessors by oppressing the community the more, having worked in the Ministry of Lands and Settlement and being well experienced in the unsolved malpractices in the ministry and in their entire country he orchestrated the woos of Chepkitale Ogiek, hence supported the Sabaot Land Defense Force (SLDF), which is being used to exterminate the Chepkitale Ogiek from the face of the earth, hence the inevitable Genocide on Chepkitale Ogiek, a minority community. The Pok people who are the SLRF are in target of expansionism and domineering, in other words they want to expand their territory and take over Ogiek land in Mt. Elgon through the current killing spree.

Needless to say the turnover rate of Chiefs and assistant chief in Chepkitale Ogiek land is alarming and the statistics depicts that no Chepkitale Ogiek chief has ever remained in office for more than 5 years. This is a true indicator of the worsening situation in the area. In Chepkitale, where they had a chief in 1911 has none at present, "what a marginalization in an independent government!!!"

FACTS OF MATTER THAT ALL NEED TO KNOW

The situation and the happenings in Mt. Elgon are all the creation of politicians and their allies. Chepkitale Ogiek exist as a distinct ethnic community and the misleading information that the clans of Soi and Mosop are the one fighting is null and void but it is meant to pave way for the extermination of the Ogiek and Subsequent peaceful settlement of the Ogiek land by the Pok people. The fact of the matter is that the Pok are using the outlawed SLDF to kill the Chepkitale Ogiek, it is absurd for the politicians to say that two clans are fighting, they should come out clearly that the Pok are killing Ogiek since September 2006.

It should be very clear that the Ogiek are dying in big numbers through the bullet and more children and women are dying of hunger and diseases since they cannot access their crops and livestock which were stolen. The situation is so pathetic, that the international community should move in with speed to save humanity from being exterminated.

Sabaots Land Defense Force is an outlawed military of the Pok politicians since they get absolute support from them. It is quite evident from the request made by the current and former MPs that SLDF be given amnesty by the government instead of being charged in the court of law for the killings they have done. This was categorically stated by the former MP Mr. Kisero in a meeting they held on 24th March 2007 in Kibuk in Mt. Elgon District.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. The world, the media and international community should be aware that the Chepkitale Ogiek are being fought by the Pok people through politicians and their allies.

2. The Kenyan government should hold meetings with Pok leaders and Chepkitale Ogiek leaders separately to try and unearth the truth cause of the genocide and develop a healing process through conflict management.

3. The government to organize a conflict resolution meeting between the leaders of the two communities and that the meeting be held in a neutral ground to avoid any foreseen intimidation, especially towards the Chepkitale Ogiek who are the Minority.

4. The Pok leaders, former MPs and the current MP, former KANU Chairmen, Councilors and Chiefs be tried in the International Court of Justice at the Hague for crimes they have committed against humanity while trying to exterminate the people of Chepkitale (Ogiek) in Mt. Elgon.

5. As the situation is worsening day after day, we are appealing to the international community to assist in Medical Care, Food relief and the basic shelter for the people, who are in cold and fear.

6. We are appealing to the international community to pressurize the Kibaki government in Kenya to contain the worsening situation which is more of genocide.

7. We are appealing to the international community to come up with means and methods of having a healing process between the two communities to avert future occurrence.

In conclusion we wish to affirm our support for the meeting held at Soy Safari Club, Uasin Gishu, 23rd at 26th March, 2007.

IN THE MATTER OF CHEPKITALE LEADERS CONSULTATIVE FORUM ON THE SECURITYOF PEOPLE OF CHEPKITALE (OGIIK/OGIEK) IN MT. ELGON DISTRICT, HELD AT SOY SAFARI CLUB, UASIN GISHU, 23RD – 26TH MARCH 2007.

AND

IN THE MATTER OF ATROCITIES VISITED UPON THE PEOPLE OF CHEPKITALE (OGIIK/OGIEK) COMMUNITY OF MT. ELGON DISTRICT.

THE GOVERNMENT OF KENYA, INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, CIVIL SOCIETIES IN KENYA, LAW SOCIETY OF KENYA, KENYA NATIONAL HUMNA RIGHTS COMMISSION, KENYA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, ALL MISSIONS AND EMBASSIES ACCREDITED TO KENYA, ALL MEDIA HOUSES AND ALL PERSONAL OF GOODWILL.

PRESS STATEMENT.


We the leaders from the Chepkitale (Ogiik/Ogiek) Community commonly referred to as the "ndorobos" attending this consultative Forum have deliberated at length on the issues prevailing on the ground in Mt. Elgon and now bring to your attention the Crisis that has been going on and still continuing at Chepyuk and wish to state as follows:

1. That the ongoing conflict is not between Soy and Mosop as portrayed by a section of the Mt. Elgon Politicians who feed the media with erroneous information, but it is between the Pok and the minority Chepkitale (Ogiik/Ogiek) community.

2. More than 85 lives have been lost since the fighting started and out of whom 40 lives are from the minority Chepkitale (Ogiik/Ogiek).

3. According to available records the population of Chepkitale (Ogiek/Ogiik) is 5000 families and all of them have been displaced, and are now residing in the caves of Chepkitale without food, shelter and medical facilities.

4. Out of the 20 schools closed in the affected area, i.e. Chepyuk, 15 Primary and 2 Secondary Schools were serving Chepkitale (Ogiik/Ogiek) community and over 5000 children are now out of school.

5. Economically the community which has been relying on livestock and farming has suffered a great deal due to looting, cattle rustling and arson perpetrated by the so called Sabaot Land Defence Force numbering about 3500 youths armed with AK 47 Assault rifles and other crude weapons.

6. Rampant human rights violations, mostly against Chepkitale (Ogiik/Ogiek) women and children by Sabaot Land Defence Force who have driven people from their homes, burned their possessions, torched their houses and granaries in full view of security forces who are unable to restraint them and now we request the government to employ its machinery to stop them.

7. Men and their leaders have been forced to flee their homes resulting in separation of families.

8. The expectant mothers are unable to access medical care. This is evident by the sad case of Jacklyne Chepkirong who died on her way from Chepkitale while being taken to Trans Nzoia District hospital due to lack of medical facilities at Chepkitale. Reports show that many children and expectant mothers are showing signs of malnutrition.

9. Considering that this is an election year, many people from Chepkitale (Ogiek/Ogiik) eligible to vote are being disenfranchised because the environment is not conducive to getting voting cards since many have lost the ID cards and voting cards because their houses were burned.

10. Root cause of the problem is and has been the continued marginalization bythe larger Pok Community against the minority Chepkitale (Ogiek/Ogiik) Community the so-called "Ndorobos".

The people of Chepkitale (Ogiek/Ogiik) on whose behalf we are making this statement wish to state as follows:

Recognition of the rights of Chepkitale (Ogiek/Ogiik) people by:

  • Reinstating Chepkitale Trust Land to its original status which was maliciously gazetted as a national game reserve on 6/6/2000 without the consent of Chepkitale (Ogiek/Ogiik) people.
  • Opening of schools and deploying teachers to Labot, Toboo and Tomoi areas along side the existing Kapchepkelnda Primary School.
  • Renovating, reopening and equipping Labot Dispensary to allow the community access medical services immediately.
  • Reopening Labot Police Post to provide security.
  • Installation of Chepkitale Locational Chief and three assistant Chiefs to

provide the necessary government Services which existed before and after independence.

  • Development of infrastructure.
  • Government to shift Voter registration files which were initially based in Chepyuk to Chepkitale.
  • Humanitarian assistance to be distributed equally to the conflicting factions.
  • Humanitarian agencies to be accorded access to Chepkitale without hindrance.
  • Restocking of livestock to people affected by cattle rustling.
  • Emergency funds from the CDF to be used to offer shelter to the Ogiek people who are now homeless.

Voice from OGIEK PEOPLES DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (OPDP) in solidarity with Chepkitale Ogiek.


For more Contact:

Mpoiko Kobei.

Kiplangat Cheruiyot.

+254 20 2045167

 

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