The Maasai community in Kenya is said to be one of the most authentic tribe in Kenya and the world at large. This is mainly because of their long preserved culture and their distinctive dress style.
Well, this community best known as warriors is also struggling for their human rights, like many other Kenyans across the country. Daniel Ntanana Oleshaa is one the community members affected. The father of 7 has been in the forefront to demand for the rights and justice for his people, especially in matters land rights.
According to Oleshaa the push for justice was informed by continuous human rights violation met to the Maasai people since pre-colonial to date. Among them is the evacuation of the community from its indigenous heartlands which first happened during the British colonial regime and lately by self-government.
“I turned to activism to protect and demand for justice for my community. Evacuations, Maasai land destructions, land grabbing and resettlements to lands not of the choice of the Maasai communities affected, are some of the factors which led me to become a Human Rights Defender,” said Oleshaa
At some point the Maasai warrior had to resign from being a member of the community representation, to stand for what he believed was right and just to his community. “I found it better to fight injustices outside such committees whose prominent leaders are normally compromised and rewarded to support injustices, committed by the perpetrators against their community.”
“I also try to balance justice as a matter of national concern, ensure distribution of resources for national development and create some social time for my community,” Added Oleshaa.
Though the quest for justice for his community has not been easy, Oleshaa has managed to reduce what he terms open injustice and delivered some success stories.
“I am glad that our plight (Project Affected Person) has become a worldwide concern involving all the financers of KEEP (Kenya Electricity Expansion Programme), Human Rights Houses, Bank Watch Houses, Media Houses. This has reduced oppression by the government and instead it has become more responsive to societal projects.”
While he has managed to record gains in the process, challenges are inevitable. He has faced death threats from both known and unknown groups. Inadequate supply of fund has made it impossible for him to attend different human rights forums. People of his community also lack adequate meeting centres, have poor modes of transport among other challenges.
Despite many challenges faced the spearless warrior says “Receiving communication from all over give me a ray of hope for the settlement of my community.” Oleshaa is keen to restore stability and ensure all implemented programs are sustained.