MPs set for round two of kamukunji

January 28, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – MPs are expected to converge once again, including the President, for another informal (kamukunji) session Wednesday afternoon to consolidate support for a bill to create a Special Tribunal for post poll violence suspects.

The talks are expected to centre on the amendments required to entrench the Special Tribunal in the constitution, all of which will require great consensus to pass, a two-thirds majority to be precise.

The divisions most notably centre on whether the jurisdiction of the Special Court and the High Court should run concurrently, as far as post election violence is concerned.

Legal experts want the jurisdiction of the High Court suspended on the matter to safeguard the Tribunal’s work from being challenged at the High Court.

Another contentious issue is the Waki timelines, which were put in place to operationalise recommendations listed in the report by the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence.

Justice Phillip Waki, who led the inquiry, threatened that should the deadlines not be met, a secret list of those suspected to be behind the violence would be sent to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

But the House Committee on the Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs says issues raised by the Waki report are critical for the country, and cannot be rushed or subjected to a political timeline.

These are just some of the issues that legislators will be dealing with before a final bill is prepared and tabled in Parliament, ahead of a Waki deadline on the same which expires on Friday.

At the kamukunji on Tuesday, legislators agreed that holders of public office accused of perpetrating the post election violence should only step aside once they are indicted.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba said they had agreed that suspects should vacate public office after charges are preferred.

“Consensus is emerging that one has to step aside from public office upon indictment.  This will be undertaken according to international law, which does not allow immunity for anybody,” he said.

The Waki report had recommended that holders of public office should step aside when they face criminal charges and should be barred from ever holding public office for life when convicted.

Tuesday’s meeting focused on building consensus among the MPs to ensure the Bill setting up the Special Tribunal is passed when it goes to Parliament for debate.

Mr Namwamba also said all lawmakers supported the formation of a concrete mechanism that would deal with impunity by bringing all those involved in the election violence to face the law, without exception.

He further stated that the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, the Serena Mediation team that participated in the peace talks and the drafting team from the State Law office would also hold meetings to discuss the Waki recommendations.


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