NEWS 2006


May 2006 Representative Presentation 'The Forest Guardian' To the Indigenous Minority Unit Fellowship Program - United Nation Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights

10.10.2006  Ogiek Clashes with Kipsigis gets to the Fourth Day

18.12.2006  An Ogiek Girl Dies!



An Ogiek Girl Dies!

A ogiek form three student of Cheptoroi secondary in Mau forest of Nakuru district aged 17 met her dead last week in the process of undergoing Female circumcision commonly known as the rith of the passage or FGM. Her body is still lying at the Nakuru mortury waiting for burial.Three others hospitalised in Rift Valley provincial hospital ward 4 under tight security from police and the care of the nurses.

After the intervention of the police, close to ten parents were arrested and now held in Njoro police station waiting to be taken to court soon. The police attempt to arrest the two women circumcisers have yielded no fruit, as they are hiding in deeper part of the Mau forest in fear of the arrest. 

OPDP has also learnt that approximately twenty two girls are also at large in the same forest as they were part of the group undergoing the right of passage.

Its has emaerghed that more than 95% of the girls had just cleared their primary school exams (KCPE) and they are expecting for their results nationally in two weeks time.

According to the witnesses, the father of the girl who died after bleeding too much, was against the will of his wife to allow the daughter undergo the initiation.Though is now part of the suspects arrested.

OPDP effort to campaign against this harmful practices have been hampered by traditions and financial constraints. Its now calling upon experts from various quarters to intervene in calling for the well wishers and donors to support this campaign so as to avert the practice. There is aneed of training the Ogiek community at large on alternative right of passage rather than the FGM. 

OPDP intends to take back the girls to school after treatments, since the circumcision was made to prepare the girls for early marriage. 

For more Information contact

Mpoiko Kobei +254 722 433 757 or  Kiplangat +254 721 602 573

Merry Xmas and Happy 2007





Dear All,

Ogiek Clashes with Kipsigis gets to the Fourth Day.

The ongoing clashes that erupted on Saturday night between the Ogiek and the Kipsigis (Kalenjin) has entered into the Fourth day in Tiritagoi, Sigotik and Sigaon of Nessuit settlement scheme of Njoro Division in Nakuru district, Rift valley province.

More than thirty two houses of the Ogiek community have been torched/burns, while two Ogiek have been killed. One of the dead Ogiek was alleged to have been shot by a Kipsigis Police Officer while the second was injured in the battles hence died later on the way to the Njoro hospital. Twelve injured and property worth thousands of shillings destroyed. The number of casualties from the Kipsigis is unknown so to the number of Houses torched. Close to 100 Kipsigis were arrested yesterday and three Ogiek arrested today. A source claims that they will be arraigned in Nakuru Court tomorrow.

Three primary schools were closed down immediately as the clashes (Conflict) escalates towards Teret and Nessuit centre.

Causes of the ongoing clashes:

  1. On evening of Saturday 7th, an Ogiek Pastor named Roma Mbarwo seven sheep were stolen by the Kipsigis tribe. This has been the usual scenario as nobody is always arrested and or no action is taken by the provincials’ administration.
  2. The land has been under a court order by the High Court of Nairobi obtained by the Ogiek members in challenging the settlement as they were left out and land given to non- Ogiek.
  3. Despite the court orders, the provincial administration and the ministry of lands issue the title deeds to the non Ogiek which was court contempt.

Urgent appeal/demand:

  1. We do the Ogiek Leaders do call upon the government to immediate deploy neural police officers so as to rescue the Ogiek from the jaws of this Kipsigis who migrated from Transmara during the former Moi regime. The few at the scene are majority from the Kipsigis. They (Kipsigis police officers) should be transferred and the nonpartisan be deployed.
  2. The Ogiek members have been rendered homeless hence deserved to be assisted with medicines, clothing and food.
  3. All land disputes and forest encroachment be determined and settled immediately.
  4. All the staffs of Nakuru ministry of Lands they be suspended as they played the role of issuance of title to non Ogiek and assumed the court order.
  5. Urgent government interventions to protect the minority Ogiek from the looming genocide as their demographic number outdo the Ogiek by a bigger margin, they have political leaders, they are economically stable, while the Ogiek are without political leaders, and living in abject poverty.
  6. The KNCHR and the Civil societies are welcome for reconciliation



Mr. Mpoiko Kobei Executive-Chairman – OPDP

Member of United Nation Indigenous people advisory committee (UNIPACK),

Vice-Chairman Hunter-Gatherers Forum (HUGAFO)

Mr. Kiplagat Cheruyot.

Senior Program Officer - OPDP

& a Member of Ogiek People National Assembly.





Ogiek Community
(Indigenous Hunter-Gatherer)

Representative Presentation

From Eastern Africa, Kenya.


'The Forest Guardian'

To the
Indigenous Minority Unit
Fellowship Program

United Nation Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights

May, 2006

By: Kiplangat Cheruiyot
Program Officer
Cultural and Land Rights Affairs
Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP)
P.O Box 622, Narok, Kenya



1. Area, Human population and Agricultural production

In 1963, Kenyan got its independence from its colony, the British. It became declared a republic in 1964. The republic of Kenya covers an area of approximately 582,646 sqkm comprising of 97% land and 2.2% water surface. Of this land only 16% can be classified as medium to high potential and the remaining land is mainly arid or semi-arid. Of the county's total area, forests and woodland occupy about 6.5% while national parks and game reserves together account for 10%. Kenya is divided into eight provinces namely; Nairobi, Central, Coast Western, Eastern, Rift valley, Nyanza and North Eastern. 

The Kenyan population is 30,000 million people according to the 1999 census. About 80% of the Kenyan population lives in rural areas and derive their livelihood from agriculture. Even for the urban poor, a majority of them make a living on agricultural related activities. The sector is therefore the main source of national income and employment creation for over 80% of the population and contributes to poverty reduction and food security.

Small scale farmers, mainly in the high potential areas, dominate Kenya's agriculture. The sub-sector accounts for 75% of total agricultural output and 70% of marketed agricultural production. Small scale farmers produce over 70% of maize, 65% of coffee, 50% of tea, 80% of Milk, 85% of fish and 70% of beef and related products. Women provide 70% of the labour required in agricultural production.

2. Economic growth

Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya's economy and accounts directly for about 26% GDP and 27% indirectly through linkages with manufacturing, distribution and service related sectors. The sectors accounts for 68% of the total export earnings. During the first two decades after independence, Kenya's economy grew on average by about 6% per year. By the end of the year 2005, the economy growth was registered at 4.3% and is expected to average of 5% beyond the 2006. Economic growth relies on the income from tourism, donor's contribution, exportation and taxes rates. 

3. marginalised people, groups and communities

Some marginalised communities in the country e.g Hunter-gatherer communities, had their rights of access for resources prohibited by bad laws and policies, such as the Wildlife Management act (1977). Their control over related resources such as land has been hampered by legislation dating back to the colonial era. The marginalised has pressurised the government that in turn has formed the National Land Policy formulation. NLPF has recommends that among others that the government should provide legal and institutional framework for restitution in lieu of destroyed property and lost cultural habitation in the forests. The government has already issued 5,016 title deeds to the Ogiek community.

Pastoralism is practiced in 70% of Kenya's land mass, 25% supports human population in the country and 50% livestock. Again no exact percentage has been brought to books on hunters-gatherer activities. The government of Kenya has of recently been involved with improving the welfare of these communities through infrastructural support.

Extent of Poverty in Kenya - UNDP country office report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) June 2005

- 56% of Kenyans live under the poverty line and depends on less than US$ 1 a day for their survival.
- 10% of the top rich individuals take home 48% of all incomes
- 10% of the bottom poor take home only 1.8% of all incomes 

Among the poor households are subsistence farmers and indigenous pastoralists who account for over 50% of the poor in Kenya. Hunter-gatherers statistics are not even available in Kenya's Bureau of statistics, hence they leave in abject poverty. The government has set an Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment creation 2003-2007 so as to curb and arrest the trend. 

A Listing of the MDGs by 2015

a) Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
b) Achieve universal primary education
c) Promote gender equality and empower women
d) Reduce mortality rate
e) Improve maternal health
f) Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other major diseases
g) Ensure environmental sustainability
h) Develop a global partnership for development

Constraints to Success of rural Economy 

- Low investment
- Poor infrastructure
- Poor governance
- Poor sequenced liberation process
- Outdated legal frame work
- Prolonged drought
- Impact of HIV/AIDS
- Insecurity 
- Reduced earnings from Export
- Rapid population growth
- Clashes (tribal conflicts)

Major causes of Indigenous Conflicts

- Ethnic conflict and the issues of territorial- political representation

- Instrumental use of conflict in political election

- Cultural factors influencing decision-making procedure and legitimacy

- Commercial raiding and the new economy of weapons trade

- Changes in patterns of ownership and exploitation of inaccessible resources e.g Forest

- Links between clan raiding and commercial incentives 

Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG 2004, 10) an NGO research indicates that over 200,000 modern firearms circulating in larger conflict system associated with the Turkana, Pokot, and karamojong. The outcome of the conflicts is for Example;

There are164, 457 people have been displaced in pastoralist districts of Kenya and that 70% of the IDPs are women and children aged below 14 years. The 41,097 people displaced makes Turkana district the leader. Wajir comes the second with a total of 32,914 out of the total district population of 270,700 people in the 1999 census. In West Pokot district, 30,361, people, the greater portion in areas proximate to Uganda and Turkana (11,871 in Alale division), have been displaced. Cattle rustling and banditry activities in Kerio Valley have displaced 32,000 people or 23% of the total population of marakwet district. In samburu district, 17% of the district's population or 23,707 people have been forced to relocate due to rustling and banditry. Marsabit district, with 4,378 displaced has the least number of the displaced people, according to the report.


According to statistics:

Take note; 'AIDS is incurable hence better prevention than the cure'


  1. Tribalism and misrepresentation
  2. Institutional obstacles seen through government bureaucracy
  3. Past human rights atrocities
  4. Insecurity and conflict
  5. Gender discrimination and violence
  6. A global economic model which promotes anti-development trade and indebtedness. i.e every new born Kenyan baby has a debt of US$ 583
  7. Lack of information
  8. Poverty and Inequality.
  9. Corruption.

Map of Kenya


Ogiek means ' caretaker of all' of plants and animals, or scientifically the flora and fauna. The Maasai nicknamed them ' iltorobo that meant a poor person without herds of cattle. As per the indigenous Maasai people, God condemned the Ogiek to live by hunting and gathering of wild animals, collecting wild fruits besides gathering herbal medicines. The other tribes that later migrated to East Africa, adopted the Maasai term and refered Ogiek as ' Dorobo' in swahili term hence its prolification to the rest of the world. The maasi believed that they live inthe trees as much of their routine activities involves harvesting honey.
Some tribes in Kenya took ' dorobo' as people who deserve no living in the forest, while other believe that 'dorobo' didn't exist at all.



The ogiek believe that they are the first occupants of what is now the East Africa. They believe that in 1000 A.D, they lived along the coastal region as per their fore-grandfathers narrated, later they migrated to the interior parts of the country so as to escape unfriendly environment of the ' foreigners' or the so called the 'whites settlers'.

The Ogiek community is the only largest forest dwellers in Eastern Africa with a unique language and culture.They are a hunter gatherer group and solely depend on the forest for food, medicine, shelter and preservation of their culture.Ogiek are found in Mau forest complex (Narok and Nakuru district), Rift valley province in Kenya. The community has been subjected to several evictions by the colonial and independent government of the day not withstanding the settlement of non-Ogiek in their ancestral lands.

It is commonly believed by the surrounding communities that the ogiek are affinities to the forest thus being successful environmentalist.

Distibution and Population

Ogiek being foresters and conservators of nature, they are found in places where tress, birds and wild animals provides them with psycholgical confort. For this strong reason, ogiek have always dwelled in areas where are forest adjacent to plains.

They are in the following areas, districts of the Kenyan Republic.

a) Nakuru - with majority in Nessuit, Mariashoni, Kiptunga, Bararget, Tinet, Ndoinet and Saino.
b) Narok - Sogoo, Ngareta, Esinoni, Nkaroni, Olokurto and Sasimwani
c) Mt. Elgon - Chepkitale and Chepyuk
d) Koibatek

They Ogiek population is being estimated to be approximately 20,000 people, though no exact census have been done clearly targeting this endangered community. The census done twice in two decades (1989 and 1999) in Kenya finds Ogiek being counted as either with the Maasai or Kalenjin speakers due to their scatteredness.

The major reason for the scatteredness of this small group is claimed to have been a move by other tribes in collaboration with the colonial government to take away their rich heritage. Evidences collected stipulates more signs of Ogiek existance in part of Kenya. It involves caves, traditional tools and beehives. 

Definition of the Problem

For almost 40 years now, the sporadic displacement of the Ogiek (derogatively referred as Dorobo) has undertaken significant toll on its youth. A generation of youth has been born in this problem that has continue to negotiate elusive solutions e.g. relocation of the Ogiek to non-forest reserves and the commission of enquiring into the land law systems in Kenya (for instance the Njonjo and Ndungu land commissions respectively), besides the formulation of National Land policy. Due to their small in number, the Ogiek have been an easy target for all kinds of frustrations including those seeking land on which to farm or graze.

Furthermore, because of their marginalized status and illiteracy, they have not been able to speak and heard for the same reason; everyone has ignored the fact that they too have the rights and obligations to life. 

The Ogiek continue to be denied security, education, employment and opportunity to grow into productive citizens. The Ogiek (forest inhabitants) directly depend on the forest for their livelihoods, harvesting honey, wild fruits and traditional medicine. It is therefore improper to deny people access to her only source of livelihoods. It is also emerges with clarity that the Ogiek live in a different unique time frame with traditional legal provisions that obviously lack integration with the British law that Kenya government subscribes to. This eliminates the fact that the Ogiek require to be understood and be integrated in the national laws. 

Due to several marginalisation, discrimination, harrassment, oppression and denial of constitutional recognition of the Ogiek Community, Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP) was founded in 1999 by genuine Ogiek opinion leaders, professionals, herbalist and spiritual leaders. Its was mandated to highlight, facilitate and arrest the trend of human rights violation and development in consideration with Millenium Development Goals(MDGs). OPDP was later registered in 2001 as an NGO by the Kenyan Government.

Human rights are universal and civil, political, economic, social that belong to all human beings regardless of the race,color, tribe, sex e.t.c. every indigenous woman,man and child is entittled to the realisation of all human rights and fundementals freedoms on equals terms with others in the society without discrimination of any kind. Throughout the period of colonialism, post colonial and the present government, the Ogiek people have particularly been seen to be harmful and barbaric. Subsequently, the state sactioned and continues to saction series of efforts to disposes of their land besides seeking to exterminate, assimilate and or impoverish Ogiek through constant evictions and disruptions of their traditional lifestyles.

OPDP's aim is to sensitize and enlighten community members on basic human rights through capacity building as advocacy initiative, so that they can also participate effectivly in democratic governance. Community members including youth, opinion leaders and women are being trained and empowered to act as human rights defenders or parallegal workers who will contribute to the empowerement of the entire community on issues pertaining human and indigenous rights in the long run.

OPDP's Mission

The OPDP is dedicated to the protection of Ogiek culture, human rights, political, socio-economic and education improvement by the way of training through workshops, seminars and holding public forum.

OPDP's Vision

The OPDP endeavours to create environment of tranquillity upon which human life and nature prospers for posterity.

Organisations Objectives

Some of the broad goals and objectives of the organisation includes;

Some of the indigenous human rights Education are:

Some of Indigenous peoples hold the rights to:

a. Equal recognition as a person before law, to equality before the courts and to equal protection of law
b. Indigenous people to exist
c. Freedom from discrimination in access to housing, education, social services, healthcare or employment
d. Freedom from any distinction exclusion, restriction or preference based on their indigenous status, which has the purpose or effect of impairing the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
e. Freedom of association
f. Use, manage and safeguard the natural resources pertaining to their lands.
g. Rights to enjoy and develop their own culture and language
h. Rights to political and constitutional recognition and representation.
i. Rights to self-determination.

Activities Implemented

a) Bee keeping and Honey marketing
b) Human Rights education Outreach
c) Civic Education on Constitutional Change
d) Gender and Women empowerment
e) Cultural and Land Rights Advocacy- tape on Exhibition and Castaways
f ) Endangered Language Research

Challenges faced by the Organisation

a. Inadequate financial resources to run the Organisation and coordinating the activities on a sustainable basis.
b. Lack of proper governance systems and structures in mobilising the government and other stakeholders into a national partnership to formulate a coherent national land policy framework to guide the sustainable utilisation, management, governance and conservation of natural resources.
c. Vested and competing interests of other actors (financial institutions, multi-national corporations and individuals) in land and natural resources sectors on the government and policy makers.
d. The capacity of OPDP (staff) to handle quite demanding and expanded activities especially on land matters, evictions and legal cases.
e. Inadequate awareness on human rights, constitutional and land rights hence slow of activism on advocacy campaigns.
f. Political interference especially by provincial administration.
g. Lack of modern facilities for research and documentation.
h. Poor transport and communication network.
i. Bad laws and policies in place.










The 35th United states President, John F.Kennedy once said in 1962 that "a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in open market is nation that is afraid of its people". The Kenya government is none other than this culprit to this say. It's a reality!

The grand and massive corruption referred as Goldenberg, the mother of Anglo-leasing, have rendered Kenyans society especially the minorities to live in poverty stage. For instance, the Ogiek, Sengwer, Yaaku, Elmolo, Waata and inter-alia, have been made inferior to national development.

From the field survey and observations, many do ask questions like, what are latifs. Why evictions and displacement? What are Constituency development Funds? Why not for bursary funds? Does NARC recognize that we do pay like the rest Kenyan? When will NARC recognize that we do pay taxes like the rest of Kenyans? When will NARC employ our few sons and daughters despite several applications?

When will our persons be in state house and how will we have our Constitutiencies and or nominated councilor or Members of Parliament?
None of the questions deserve promise other than action orientation as obligation for accepting problems and fulfilling them. For so long, minorities have been patient as many believe God is the answer to the problem forgetting that the world has enough for everyone's need, but not everyone's greed.

The minorities who lacks proper and presentation for consultation, negotiation and bargaining for national cake have generated fear due to too much dishonesty by the government. The tax payers funds, that were pocketed in greedy individuals could have been used alleviate poverty in Kenya as whole. The minorities' children have left behind educationally due to lack of fees. Some have dropped after primary while the rest have just hanged up after high school. The funds alleged to have been stolen from the treasury could have sponsored for their education. Education being a passport to a meaningful life, the government does believe that coming from an ethnic minority or lower social- economic class has nothing to do with their inmate ability. On the human rights arena, Kenya government being led by his Excellency Honorable Emillio Kibaki, have overlooked international human rights instruments, convention, declarations that has it ratified. The sessional paper, rule of law, and various commission recommendations have been assumed.

Government must realize that its credibility in the eyes of the people and the international communities is being affected. My message to the culprits in love with corruption is that "Only when the last river has been poisoned, the last tree has been cut down the last fish has been caught only then will they realize money cannot be eaten. It is only when they are in jail feeding on boiled beans they will realize justice can't be bought.

Kiplangat Cheruiyot
Program Officer
Cultural and Land Rights Affairs
Ogiek People Development Program