Mt Elgon picks up the pieces after land clashes
Posted Monday, April 9 2012 at 22:30
Mt Elgon is slowly regaining its lost economic and social fabric following the defeat of the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF) insurgency.
On the way to the disputed Chebyuk settlement scheme, donkeys loaded with Irish potatoes, onions, tomatoes and cabbages underscore the fact that the area is a rich agricultural zone.
Women and children going about their business selling sugarcane and vegetables by the roadside is a common sight.
Residents, who were worst hit by the SLDF violence, are struggling to put their lives back on track after the government concluded the resettlement in phase three of the controversial scheme. Many, who had fled the area at the height of militia activities, are returning.
Most businesses and homes torched by SLDF militia are being rebuilt.
Within two years, from 2006 when the SLDF took up arms to protest against alleged historical injustices, more than 1,000 people had been killed, scores of women raped, dozens of men castrated and more than half of the population in the agriculturally rich region uprooted from their homes.
Some 300 victims, most of them men, are still missing, according to human rights reports.
After losing property and loved ones, residents are still debating whether it is possible to forgive the perpetrators.
Mr Peter Chesibon, who missed out on the resettlement in the Chebyuk scheme, says he is happy despite lacking land.
“People are satisfied with the resettlement that was done. Those who missed out on the land allocations hope they will be resettled in Trans Nzoia as the government promised,” says the 43-year-old.
Some 1,732 families have already been resettled in Chebyuk and the government has released Sh180 million to buy land for those who missed out.
Mr Chesibon says he and his brother have been living in a rented house since they were displaced at the height of the violence.