Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Moi was involved

Priest tells Kaiser probe of Moi link in evictions

Publication Date: 02/16/2006

President Daniel arap Moi sanctioned the eviction of displaced families who were taking refuge at Maela following tribal clashes over decade ago, an inquest heard yesterday.

A priest, Fr Francis Mwangi, said the Head of State visited the victims camping at Maela along the Nakuru-Narok border in November 1994 and promised them "a Christmas gift".

However, come Christmas eve, all the displaced families at the trading centre were kicked out, contrary to their expectations, the priest said.

"It dawned on us that the eviction was the Christmas gift the president had promised," Fr Mwangi told magistrate Maureen Odero at the inquest into the death of Father John Antony Kaiser.

The two priests were at the time stationed at Maela, helping the families which had ran away from their homes in the wake of tribal clashes.

"When the President made the promise, we were happy that something good was finally going to happen. But Fr Kaiser cautioned us to wait and see instead of celebrating," Fr Mwangi said.

The two priests were themselves bundled out of Maela by policemen on December 27 at 10pm on "orders from above".

Fr Mwangi, questioned by Mr Mbuthi Gathenji, for the Catholic Church, said the evictions later drew international attention and led to visits by high-profile figures, including an American envoy, who was blocked from reaching the displaced families.

Later, Fr Kaiser compiled a report of human rights violations and presented it to the a judicial commission of inquiry into the disturbances. But testimony on the alleged approval of the clashes by President Moi was expunged from the inquiry records, Fr Mwangi said.

The hearing continues.

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