Raila censured over amnesty call

August 19, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 19 – Seven Members of Parliament (MPs) from Central Kenya have criticised Prime Minister Raila Odinga over his renewed calls for the unconditional release of post-election violence suspects.
The MPs, who included Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri, described the PM’s statement as “unfortunate and aimed at creating a wedge among Kenyans.”
The legislators who castigated the PM include Peter Gitau (Mwea), Nemesyus Warugongo (Kieni), David Njuguna (Lari), Muturi Mwangi (Kiharu) and Clement Wambugu (Mathioya).
The leaders said by advocating for the release of the suspects, Odinga was setting a bad precedent of impunity.
Kiunjuri claimed that the PM had bowed to pressure from Rift Valley MPs who had put him under siege over his stand on the controversial Mau forest issue.
The Water and Irrigation Assistant Minister alleged that the PM had revisited the amnesty debate after he started facing rebellion from a cross-section of Rift Valley leaders over the pending eviction of settlers in Mau forest.
He said by granting amnesty to the perpetrators of the violence, the Government would be subjecting the country to a culture of impunity that may be used in future to cause more mayhem.
However Cooperatives Development Minister Joseph Nyaga defended the PM and argued that they were not seeking for amnesty but justice.

“Justice means that we want to know the truth and that once we know the truth we give people their rightful position,” Nyaga stated.

“If young people were arrested because they were demonstrating their right and they were led by Joe Nyaga to the streets of Nairobi and Joe Nyaga has not been arrested and the youth have been arrested, there is something wrong with that. You should either arrest Joe Nyaga and the youth or don’t touch both,”   he added.

Addressing an International conference on Restorative Justice and National Humanitarian Law in Nairobi on Monday, Odinga said the youths were not guilty of any offence and should therefore be set free.

He accused the police of being partisan in carrying out their mandate at the height of the post-election violence that rocked the country early in the year.


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