Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:06 GMT

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Kenya

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 17 May 2010
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2009 - Kenya, 17 May 2010, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Quick facts
Number of IDPsUndetermined
Percentage of total population--
Start of current displacement situation2007 (election-related violence)
Peak number of IDPs (Year)600,000 (2008)
New displacementUndetermined
Causes of displacementGeneralised violence, human rights violations
Human development index147

Kenya is still recovering from the December 2007 post-election violence that split the country along ethnic lines and left a very high number of people internally displaced. An estimated 1,300 Kenyans were killed and 600,000 forced from their homes. The government's return programme in 2008 and 2009 was marred by irregularities, and IDPs and civil society organisations accused the government of enforcing unsafe returns, and of corruption in disbursing compensation monies. Despite government claims that the majority of IDPs had been resettled, a substantial number were still living in camps and with host communities at the end of 2009. The government was also accused of neglecting the claims for resettlement and compensation of groups of people who had been displaced by earlier violence.

Kenya has still a way to go in finding durable solutions for IDPs, despite ratifying the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region (the Great Lakes Pact) and signing the Kampala Convention in 2009. Despite efforts by the government to formulate a national policy and to resettle those displaced by the 2007 violence, significant numbers remained without a home or livelihood. During the year, the government made no significant effort to profile or assess the needs of populations displaced by conflict or violence.

Internal displacement is not a new phenomenon in Kenya. The country experienced politically-motivated violence in 1991, in 1997, and more recently violence and human rights violations which caused displacement in Mount Elgon and northern Kenya. In 2009, ongoing inter-clan conflicts in pastoralist areas in north-western and north-eastern Kenya displaced thousands of people and led to the loss of over 400 lives. In Isiolo and Mandera Districts, local human rights organisations accused government security forces of committing human rights violations that led to displacement.

Efforts to bring perpetrators of violence and displacement to justice did not lead to prosecutions in 2009. The government's Commission of Inquiry on Post Election Violence recommended the establishment of local tribunals to identify and prosecute those suspected of inciting and engaging in violence, but parliament blocked the proposal. The Commission handed over the names of those implicated in the violence to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, but at the end of 2009 the ICC was yet to undertake investigations.

In response to the post-election displacement, the government set up the National Humanitarian Fund for Mitigation and Resettlement of Victims of Post-election Violence in early 2008 to help families return to areas they had been displaced from. The Fund was intended to provide cash grants to help with the logistics of return, to support returnees replace basic household items and also rebuild houses.

Since 2008, the government has helped a large number of IDPs to return but, even after it forcibly closed camps in 2009, a significant number of IDPs were still in transit camps or living with hosts at the end of the year. According to the Ministry of State for Special Programmes (MoSSP), over 3,700 households displaced by the post-election violence were still living in 25 transit sites in Molo, Uasin Gishu/Wareng, and Trans Nzoia West/Kwanza Districts.

An audit commissioned by the Kofi Annan-led Panel of Eminent African Personalities reported that that some 19,000 people uprooted by the 2007 election violence were yet to be resettled and that 62 per cent of IDPs had not been provided with funds to construct their houses. Some of these families were still awaiting the government grants to return to their farms, although the government was providing food assistance through MoSSP. Over 6,800 internally displaced families also required support from the government to access land and livelihood opportunities. The government has committed to purchase land and allocate 2.25 acres to each household and resettle these families in an eco-village.

Representatives of civil society organisations, the media and IDPs themselves all reported in 2009 that return funds had been grossly mismanaged by government officials who reportedly embezzled large quantities of the money and denied IDPs their entitlement. Promises of resettlement land for IDPs were not realised by the end of the year, and the government could not account for over $19 million allocated to buy the land.

Search Refworld