Politicians smacked over Waki

November 4, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, November 4 – pressure for the government to implement the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence (CIPEV) continued to mount on Tuesday with religious leaders and the Federation of Women Lawyers demanding action.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) broke its silence and demanded the full implementation of the CIPEV report and that by the Independent Review Commission.

The General Secretary Peter Karanja said they were appalled by remarks made by several politicians and Cabinet Ministers who opposed to the implementation of the findings famously referred to as the Waki report.

"We want nothing short of the full implementation of the report. People who caused violence or supported it in any way must be prepared to face the law," Cannon Karanja said.

The report compiled by Justice Philip Waki and two other commissioners called for the establishment of a Special Tribunal to try suspects of post election violence whose names are contained in a sealed envelope that was handed over to Kofi Annan who was the Chief Mediator of Kenya’s peace process.

Many of those named in the report are influential cabinet ministers, politicians and renowned business leaders who are accused of having financed or incited mobs to participate in violence.

"We as church leaders are deeply saddened, disturbed and appalled by the carelessness with which political leaders and even the police are talking about these two reports," the NCCK said.

The Police Commissioner Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali and various politicians and cabinet ministers who are indicted in the Waki report have been issuing statements castigating CIPEV ‘for doing a shoddy job’

Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement has also rubbished the report and rejecting its recommendations in total.

The President’s Party of National Unity on its part held a meeting on Tuesday afternoon where members said the full implementation of the report would end the culture of impunity that has taken root in the country.

The statement titled ‘Implement Kriegler and Waki Reports or Perish’ dismissed those accusing the commission of condemning people without offering them a hearing as "self seekers who are only out to achieve their selfish political interests."

They church leaders said they would attend proceedings in Parliament to monitor how MPs voted on the reports and later name and shame leaders who did not support the implementation.

To emphasise their seriousness on the issue, the leaders said they would mobilise the public to send a petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking the trial of all those implicated, if no action was taken in Kenya.

"We will team up with the civil society to collect signatures to be sent to the ICC because we are determined to ensure this report is implemented.  Our leaders should not take Kenyans for granted, they should keep their pledges," the church leaders said.

The Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya (FIDA) on its part dismissed claims that the International Criminal Courts (ICC) could not use the Waki Report to prosecute the perpetrators of the post poll violence as premature.

FIDA Deputy Executive Director Grace Maingi told Capital News that those making the allegations were ‘jumping the gun’ as the ICC prosecutor would have to come to Kenya and initiate investigations to support cases he wished to prosecute.

A section of legal experts have argued that the ICC cannot take up the cases because they lack the evidence that show or trace the involvement of alleged perpetrators in planning of the violence.

"Why are we killing the process before it has even begun, or before we have discussions on how it can be undertaken?  It is important for us to be able to interrogate these issues," she said.

She criticised the stand taken by the legal experts saying that they should be leading the calls for its implementation.

The FIDA official said: "We need people to come together for these perpetrators to be brought to book, we (legal experts) should be saying that investigations need to occur; Let them (the perpetrators) have a chance to come and defend themselves. Let natural justice occur."

She called on Kenyans to push for the implementation of the Report under processes that observe the rules of natural justice, existing international human rights and the constitution.

"As Kenyans we cannot afford to throw away this process because we think it will not work; There is no perfect process but we have to make a process that will bring perpetrators to book that is the bottom line," Maingi told Capital News.

Civil society groups also launched a nationwide campaign to create awareness on the Waki Commission Report and push for its full implementation.

The campaign dubbed "Open the Envelope" is aimed at ending the debate on amnesty and forgiveness.

The group questioned the government’s commitment to implement the findings of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) if it could not implement existing findings.

"If we are not going to implement the Waki Report in its totality then there is no use for Kenyans to engage in the TJRC process because this was a mini-TJRC.  MPs and political parties must listen to what Kenyans are saying which is: impunity must stop."


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