More outrage over Kenya Cabinet decision

August 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – Civil society groups and political leaders have continued to express outrage and disappointment at the Cabinet decision on the local tribunal.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), former political prisoners and a number of MPs urged the two principals to persuade the Cabinet to review and adopt a judicial forum, whose mandate will be to determine the issue of culpability and to prescribe punishment.

“Without the Special Tribunal and without predictability as to when or whether the ICC will take over the investigations of what the resultant process or lack thereof will be, Kenyans are making a statement to the world that they are incapable of keeping to the agreement, that they are not committed to punishing crime or even properly engaging in the transition process,” KNCHR Vice Chairman Hassan Omar Hassan said.

In Parliament, MPs who spearheaded the push for The Hague option now want the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to reveal the names of those contained in the Waki envelope.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara said that the Cabinet move was only a confirmation of his fears that the government never had the will to set up the tribunal and was only employing delaying tactics to deny Kenyans justice.

He said that the international community must now step in to push for an end to impunity, urging a diplomatic freeze in relations with Kenya until the government proves that it can deal with the crisis.

This comes only days before Kenya hosts the AGOA conference in Nairobi, which is due to be opened by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Kenyans were hoping against hope that their government will take some steps to bring the culprits to book and just as they are not able to resettle the IDPs you can see they are just taking Kenyans for a ride. Because Kenyans’ attention span is so narrow the government gets away with murder every time and I would ask Mrs Clinton and her team to re-think her tour,” he said.

Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale vowed that Parliament would defeat any proposed amendments to the TJRC Act as announced by President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday evening.

“After amending that law, the law will apply on all events that will have taken place after that law was enacted. It cannot apply to past events. It is just a short way of hood winking Kenyans. The Cabinet, the President and PM are afraid of Parliament,” Mr Khalwale said.

Mr Imanyara on the other hand said that it was unfortunate the two principals were sidetracked from delivering justice to Kenya by some of those who fear they could be in the Waki list.

On his part, Molo MP Joseph Kyuna questioned why the Cabinet decided to go against Kenyans who had told the Waki and Krielger commissions that they had no confidence in the judiciary.

He cited the lack of will to deal with past injustices as the main reason for repeated violence in his constituency.

“Since 1992 we have been having these courts. You want to tell us that right now there are going to be some angels from heaven to come and preside over. Why are they afraid of Ocampo? That is where we feel Kenyans will get a fair trial but on Kenyan soil they will just compromise just as they have done since 1992,” he said.

Meanwhile, former MPs who suffered detention under the past regime said the Cabinet decision was a subversion of justice.

Former Nakuru MP Koigi wa Wamwere, who in 2003 led a parliamentary panel that drafted a bill for the establishment of TJRC, said that the government had failed to offer leadership on how to crush impunity in Kenya.

Former Nyeri Town MP Wanyiri Kihoro, who was also detained during the Moi regime, said that the President should dissolve the Cabinet and call fresh elections.


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