The muddle of setting up a Kenya Tribunal

December 4, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo now says he will introduce a new Bill to create a local tribunal to try the post election violence suspects.

Mr Kilonzo is on record saying he will not support a similar Bill which is currently before Parliament that is sponsored by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara but now says he wants to introduce another Bill around June next year.

On Friday he said he would wait for Kenyans to complete the ongoing constitutional review process before presenting a Bill to set up the local tribunal.

“If you look at our calendar, the Parliamentary Select Committee is going to be seized of this matter (constitutional debate) on 8th January and I expect by mid February the Parliament itself to be through with the debate. After that it will be a referendum. I am therefore estimating that I will make an effort to get a local tribunal by May or June next year; once I know the constitutional process is underway,” he announced.

Mr Kilonzo also stated that he would not re-submit or amend his previous Bill.

“My previous Bill is not amendable and I would never amend it. I think I have an obligation out of my experience (which I have gained out of public service) to transfer that experience to Kenyans by telling them that my Bill is not negotiable. It was the only one that would have given you confidence to know that if a person is arrested he is arrested because he committed a crime,” he said.

He further explained that a constitutional bill could not be amended thereby ruling out the sealing of any loopholes that might have been in Mr Imanyara’s Bill on a local tribunal.

“The country must understand that you cannot amend a constitutional bill. The moment Hon Imanyara drafted his bill the way he did he knew that some of the immunities it proposed could not be stepped down,” he said.

He added that he would also ensure that his new bill would not be thrown out by parliamentarians.

“I am a very good marketer and I never give up; I will continue trying. The last time God gave us something from heaven was when He was giving the Israelites manna. God is never going to give us institutions; He gave us life, intelligence and free will. It is up to us these gifts to establish our own institutions,” he said.

Mr Kilonzo also said that if the Harmonised Draft Constitution was passed after the referendum it would be easier for his bill to be accepted as well.

“The Judiciary will have been dramatically reformed. We will have a dramatically changed police service and I do hope that the Committee of Experts will retain the Administration Police. We will have a changed perception to institutions because the constitution will be our own product. Therefore if you say ‘Yes’ to the new constitution then I can set up a local tribunal in June without much stress,” he observed.

Mr Kilonzo emphasised that justice would be served and that no crimes committed in the wake of the 2008 violence would go unpunished.

“We will at some point in our country have to try those who raped our women, maimed our people and caused the mayhem last year. The bulk of those who were maimed had nothing to do with what ballot or where it was cast,” he said. 

On the Harmonised Draft Constitution Mr Kilonzo said there was great need to set up regulations that would facilitate the referendum and avert the polarisation that marked the last referendum.

“I hope you can help me start creating a movement of consensus for a referendum law because we do not want to do a referendum like we did in 2005,” he stated.

He also took issue with allegations that the Executive arm of government was to blame for the constant sabotaging of the Imanyara bill.

“It is the Executive that took the bill to the House and in the end when the Executive decided not to make a second attempt it was been proved right because Members of Parliament have refused to provide quorum to debate it,” he said but added that all lawyer ministers were in support of a local tribunal.

“I want to salute them; Hon James Orengo, The Attorney General Amos Wako, Hon Moses Wetangula, Hon Amason Kingi and Hon Kiraitu Murungi. Those members of the Cabinet have put their signatures on the proposals that I tabled on their behalf.”

He spoke after the launch of his ministry’s 2008-2012 Strategic Plan that focuses on eradication of corruption in Kenya and promote justice. The plan requires Sh13.1 billion to execute.


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