Barely three months after the Kenyan forest living community, Ogiek, well known as "Dorobo" won a landmark case against the Kenyan government at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, the marginalized community has once again struck big, bagging a nomination seat to the Senate, the first ever MP from the community since independence.
Victor Prengei, an Ogiek was nominated by President Uhuru's Jubilee Party to represent the youth in the Senate, his nomination eliciting wild celebrations with troops of dancers snaking their way to the 32-year-old’s Mariashoni home in Nakuru County.
This is first time the community of about 35,000 people living inside the Mau Forest will be represented by one of their own in the Legislature. A colorful celebration ceremony was held on Sunday to mark the historic event with Prengei assuring residents of his determination to make them proud. “The highest position that our community has ever held was that of councilor (MCA) and chief and that’s why we are so happy today. It is a breakthrough for us as a community,” said Mzee Joseph Barng’etunty.
The conservative community has in the past been dominated by other communities such as Kipsigis and Tugen owing to their numerical strength.
Pregei's nomination is “a new dawn for the community” known for bee-keeping.
The Ogieks hit the international headlines in May when they won a case against the government at the Arusha-based African court in a legal battle that has lasted close to a decade. Judges ruled in their favor to recognize their right to Kenya’s Mau Forest as their ancestral home, and their role in protecting it. The Kenyan government was found to have violated seven articles of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, of which Kenya is a signatory. The was formulated to protect basic freedoms and human rights.