Poll violence financiers to be named

July 11, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 11 – A former Chief Executive of a local NGO said Friday that he was prepared to table the names of some of the politicians who financed or planned skirmishes to protest the disputed December election.

Kepta Ombati, who headed the Youth Agenda, said they have a detailed report on some of the financiers and others who played active roles in instigating the violence.

“We will provide all the information including the names to this commission,” he said while giving his testimony to the Waki Commission of Inquiry probing the poll riots on Friday.

During cross examination, Justice Philip Waki, who is chairing the commission, demanded to know if Ombati was also willing to assist them get what he had referred to as ‘big fish’.

The following is an excerpt from the proceedings:

Justice Waki: “Obviously we must serve adverse notice if we are going to involve any persons who are going to be mentioned here, but we need to know the names first.

Ombati: We will be happy to provide all the information that we have including the names where we have them.

Justice Waki: Thank you very much, and hopefully you will also assist us to identify. I think you referred to big fish at some point. I don’t know how big these fish are but you will be able to let us know their identities. Are you in any position to help this commission deal with the big fish?

Ombati: My lord, we welcome the opportunity to aid the commission in any way because in our recommendation we have said that there can’t be solution of our history of the electoral violence unless we actually target the big fish. We would also be very happy to see you target the big fish.”

Once named publicly at the commission, the politicians and any others mentioned will be required to appear either in person or through their lawyers to defend themselves against accusations levelled against them.

Ombati is the fifth witness to appear before the commission, which has heard evidence from among others the Police Commissioner Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali.

Internal Security and Provincial Administration Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia, who concluded his testimony on Friday morning, blamed the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) for failing to adequately advise the government on the formation of criminal gangs, which executed most of the violence.


Justice Waki: “Was there intelligence information about the formation of these gangs in other areas apart from Nairobi?

Kimemia: No my lords, not of any that I am aware of.

Justice Waki: And there was no information about who was organising them in those areas?

Kimemia: I have not come across such information my lords.”

The NSIS Director General Brigadier Michael Gichangi was scheduled to testify at the commission on Friday but failed to show up, citing commitments at another Parliamentary committee probing the controversial sale of the Grand Regency hotel.

His lawyer Ahmednasir Abdulahi pleaded with the commission to re-schedule his appearance.

“With your indulgence my lords, he can come with his team next week at a date convenient to the commission,” he implored, and successfully secured Thursday July 17 as the suitable day.

 The spy chief is expected to make public measures that his department took to warn the government of any planned forms of violence.

NSIS is charged with the task of advising the government on intelligence information on diverse issues mainly security.

Its director is an appointee of the President and directly reports to him.


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