Clergy pile pressure on Kibaki, Raila

November 12, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, November 12 – The Inter-Religious Forum has asked President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to press for the full implementation of the Waki and Kriegler reports on post-election violence.

The forum reiterated its support for the two reports which it said would help end the culture of impunity in the country. The National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary General Peter Karanja who read the recommendations of the forum said the proposed tribunal must be set up to try the perpetrators of the post poll violence.

“If Parliament and Cabinet are unwilling to set up the mechanism of the Tribunal then the prosecution of the culprits named in the sealed envelope should be taken up by the International Criminal Court.  This would be an embarrassment because we have a Parliament that is capable of doing this but we are not impressed by their dilly-dallying,” he said.

The forum wants Parliament to move fast in passing the legislation necessary to back the implementation of the two reports.  “We will attend parliamentary proceedings in our robes to watch the debate when the Bills will be discussed in the House,” Canon Karanja said.

The forum also includes the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, the Hindu Council, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, and the Kenya Episcopal Conference among others. The religious groups asked Kenyans to shun leaders implicated in the violence.

While President Kibaki and Mr Odinga have fully backed the implementation of the reports, their lieutenants have differed with them.

The Justice Phillip Waki led team established a list of alleged planners and financiers of the skirmishes and recommended that they should be tried in a tribunal administered by both local and foreign judges.

A section of politicians have however rejected the proposal saying that if implemented, the Waki report could reignite tension in the country. Another group has fronted a tribunal widely controlled by Kenyans.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has led yet another group fronting for the setting up of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) in place of the Tribunal. Canon Karanja however said the setting up of a TJRC should not be used to derail the Tribunal.

He said those to be forgiven must first accept involvement and then the magnitude of the crimes evaluated before forgiveness is administered.

“The TJRC can offer amnesty to some of the lesser crimes and that is part of the healing and reconciliation,” he said.

The Justice Johann Kriegler team on the other hand recommended an overhaul of the Electoral Commission of Kenya and Kenya’s electoral processes.  Commissioners at the ECK have however hit back at their intended dismissal and have challenged the bid in court.

The High Court this week blocked the intended dissolution of the ECK until the case is heard in a fortnight.

Meanwhile, the Association of Professional Societies in East Africa (APSEA) says President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should be ready to make ‘hard decision’ to ensure the implementation of the Waki Report.

Chairman Daniel Ichangi said on Wednesday that lack of political will to implement commission reports by past governments led to the crisis that was realised early this year.

He said: “Decisions might be costly and painful today but will secure the future of this country. This is the time for our leaders to stand up and be counted in their responsibility to break this cycle of impunity once and for all.”

The association is calling on Parliament to enact the necessary laws with the set time frames adding that they will be supporting the prosecution of the perpetrators at the International Criminal Courts. 

Mr Ichangi said referring to a section in Waki report: “There must be an end to this cowardice and pious sense of self preservation in public service if impunity will be eradicated in this country.”

He opposed calls for amnesty saying a tribunal must be set up to ensure justice for the victims of the violence is realised including police brutality.


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