Tuesday 26th May 2020, marked exactly three years down the line since the Ogiek won the case against the Kenyan Government at the African Court of Human and People's Rights (AfCHPR). African Court ruled out that the Kenyan Government had violated the Seven articles of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights in which the government is signatory with the mandate to protect fundamental human rights. Despite their victory, the case remains unimplemented, and this has subjected them to many sufferings, including forceful evictions, land grabbing, and land depositions.
The Ogiek in all the six counties, namely Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Nandi, Kericho, and Narok, specially commemorated the day despite the hoovering spread of coronavirus across the world. The day vital to them as it reminds them of their victory and the day they were recognized as an indigenous community. With the phrase "You cannot separate the Ogiek from the forest, "they did what they love most, and they commemorated the day by planting trees contributing to the conservation of degraded parts of the forest. In their remarks, members of the community in unison want the government to implement the case.
Implementation of the case will halt their suffering as well as pave the way to the conservation of the forest as they are well versed with traditional knowledge that is crucial in conservation. In Nessuit location, Nakuru county, the community planted 2500 indigenous trees to mark the 3rd anniversary since the Ogiek won the case against the Kenyan government.
The community also advocated for their land rights through engaging in radio talk shows that included, to name but a few, Radio Yetu, Milele FM, and Sogoot FM. In one of the interviews Mr. Daniel Kobei, Executive Director Ogiek Peoples' Development Program(OPDP), claimed that despite the government forming a task force whose mandate was to look into the Ogiek issues geared towards the implementation of the case. The government, however, has failed to release the report.
Christopher Kipkones, Chairman, OPDP, asked the government to implement the Ogiek Case and restore them to their ancestral land. He further claims that the government should release the task force report, whose period ended on January 24th, 2020.
Mzee John Sironga, one of the Ogiek elders, in his remarks laments that the government has taken too long to implement the Ogiek Case and wants the government to come out clearly on the progress of its implementation.
The day was also commemorated virtually through social media where various messages were posted, indicating clearly that the government should implement the Ogiek land case and restore them to their ancestral homeland. OPDP, together with the community, received overwhelming support from the various Civil Society Organizations, partners, and friends. These included Katiba Institute, Minority Rights International(MRG), Kenya Human Rights Commission, and International Commission of Jurists(ICJ), etc. The photo below is one of the posters used during the online campaigns.
Katiba Institute, in conjunction with OPDP, launched a shadow report on implementing the Ogiek Judgement titled "Defending Our Future: Overcoming the Challenges of Returning Home." The report highlights the significance of implementing the Ogiek judgment and the key finding of the judgment.