Kenyans must wake up!

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By Catherine Karong’o

Ever since the secret envelope sealed by Justice Phillip Waki was handed over to Chief Mediator Kofi Annan, there has been conflict especially among political leaders on whether to form a special tribunal or go to The Hague to prosecute suspected perpetrators of the post 2007 election violence.

And even as the debate heats on, I am not so sure that Kenyans especially those living in rural areas are aware of what either option entails.

Even more confusing probably was when other groups suggested the formation of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).

I can bet that if you asked Kenyans what the three options offers them, only a very small percentage would know.

The reason here is that there has not been much information on these options offered to ‘Wanjiku’.

Just like it was in the 2005 referendum, political leaders have imposed what they think is right and obviously to suit their interests without really educating Kenyans to make an informed decision.

The media does not escape blame here either. The institution which is a critical tool in informing and educating the masses has not played its role well in educating the public on the issue.

It has merely focused on political bickering and on divergent issues expressed by the church.

A special tribunal will see suspected perpetrators indicted here in Kenya. The downside of it is that with the current loopholes in the justice system, not many would be confident with it.

The Hague option which has already taken effect after Chief mediator Kofi Annan handed over the envelope to the International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo involves having the suspected perpetrators prosecuted in The Hague.

The danger here is that it may take many years to prosecute all the suspects noting of other high profile cases on Mr Ocampo’s deask.

The TJRC on the other hand is more holistic. It would deal with historical injustices which would include reasons behind conflicts in post independence Kenya and how to deal with them.

It would also prosecute suspected perpetrators and reunite conflicting communities.

We however cannot entirely blame the church, politicians or the media because Kenyans have also failed to put the three institutions on the spot. We are all to blame and we need to wake up and deal with the issues exhaustively before the next general election.

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