By Frida Chausiku
The Government of Kenya issued a 60- day notice before conducting the Phase 2 Mau evictions that will be chaired by Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya. The question that many ask and is still unanswered is WHAT IS THE FATE OF THE CHILDREN OF MAU?
The Children of Mau are a vulnerable lot whose dreams, future, desires, rights and general wellbeing is at stake. In less than 60 days, if the people of Mau are evicted, about 15, 000 children in Mau will be homeless, displaced, destitute and desperate while the government that purports to protect children will be watching. Out of these children, about 10,000 of them are school-going and expect to resume learning next week just like other children in other parts of the country. Unfortunately, 15 schools have been closed as at now. Even after being neglected for a long time, some of the pupils have beat the odds and made their way through to Standard 8 only not to be registered for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) Examinations as they have been denied their right to a name and nationality (as provided under Article 53(1) (a) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010), having not been issued with their Birth certificates.
These children who, desiring to be treated equally to other children in the world, do not deserve what is yet to be served to them. They deserve Justice and immediate justice as justice delayed is justice denied. Human rights being inalienable, indivisible interrelated and inherent, the children of Mau are fully entitled to enjoy them without any limitation whatsoever. Just like every other person, the children of Mau have the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law as envisaged under Article 27 of the Constitution, 2010.
The Government of Kenya, by ratifying several international instruments aimed at protecting children, undertook to recognize, respect, uphold protect and promote the rights of children so as to preserve their dignity and that of communities and also to promote social justice for the realization of their potential. The coming Mau eviction will go down in history as one of the biggest acts contravening the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child(ACRWC), United Nations Charter on the Rights of the Child (CRC), The Constitution of Kenya, 2010, and the Children’s Act, 2001 the amongst many other laws.
Article 53(2) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, provides that for very matter concerning the child, the interest of that child is of paramount importance. The government of Kenya, ought to be clear on the plans that it has for the 15,000 children in Mau in the upcoming phase 2 Mau evictions. The interests of the children are of paramount importance in every decision that will be made as regards to the looming evictions. Either, all the stakeholders in the education, health internal security and all the other relevant sectors are called upon to condemn the injustices that are about to be meted to the children of Mau.
It is so sad that these are the same communities who have previously faced a myriad of historical injustices having been evicted and displaced by the colonialists from their ancestral land which is the current Tea Estates occupied by the British Multi National Tea companies in Kericho and Bomet Counties. Upon trying to settle and recollect their Right to dignity as human beings, the same government that they expected to protect their rights by ensuring that they regain their land from the colonialists is evicting them. As other children are building their future and actualizing their dreams, the children of Mau will watch their homes and schools torched down to ashes.
The remaining few days before the eviction is a time enough for the decision makers and opinion shapers of this country to think about the Rights of the children of Mau which are at stake. Furthermore, the realization and protection of the rights of these children do not require much resources. Everyone has an obligation to ensure that no child suffers. In the least of the ways you can, it’s a call to everyone to come out and condemn the injustices yet to be meted on the children of Mau.
#SAVE THE CHILDREN OF MAU
The Author is a lawyer based in Nairobi