Back and forth over TJRC chairman

February 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – Pressure continues to pile on the Chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Chairman Bethuel Kiplagat to resign from the helm of the Commission.

The International Centre for Policy and Conflict Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina described him as ‘unfit for the position.’

The ICPC said that Mr Kiplagat’s integrity was questionable and stated that the selection process was marred by irregularities.

He pointed out that by stepping aside, the TJRC Chairman would maintain his standing in the society as a ‘statesman’.

“Kenyans would give him much respect in that he owned up, he said people have raised concerns about me, they have raised serious questions about my integrity, my credibility as such I would step aside,” Mr Wainaina said. “By owning up, he will be retaining his stature as a respected person in the society.”

The Association of Professional Societies of Kenya through its Chairman Daniel Ichang’I has however defended the beleaguered Commissioner saying that he was adequately qualified to handle the responsibilities of that office.

Mr Ichang\’I who was the chairman of the TJRC selection process stated that the recent attacks on Mr Kiplagat\’s integrity were unwarranted.

“We had the privilege of taking part in the TJRC’s selection as per the Act.  It was a transparent, accountable and totally honest process,” he explained.

“Every one of these Commissioners and the 15 that were selected were interviewed closely and we did due diligence as far as the selection panel was concerned.”

He said that Mr Kiplagat underwent thorough vetting before he was appointed to head the TJRC.

He described those calling for his resignation as being on a witch hunting process.

“If you do not want to interact with this team, taken to the floor of Parliament and then appointed with the approval of the President, I think you need to take your quarrels elsewhere but let Kenyans have an opportunity to speak out,” he said.

Mr Kiplagat has been under constant pressure to resign from the Commission’s helm for allegedly not rising up against injustices committed during former President Daniel arap Moi’s regime.

However Mr Wainaina said that there was need for leaders heading the country’s healing process following the post poll chaos to inspire confidence in the victims.

Speaking to Capital News, he also emphasised the need for interim measures to be put in place to protect post election violence witnesses.

“We need to put in place interim measures since many people who have crucial information with regard to post election violence, many of them are on the run while others are scared,” he said. “So there has to be in place interim measures in place as we wait for the amendment of the witness protection law.”

Mr Kiplagat has downplayed the onslaught against his team saying that calls for him to resign would not deter the Commission from carrying out its mandate.

He said that his team was vetted thoroughly before the list was taken to Parliament which later approved meaning they were fit to preside over the process.

The TJRC boss insisted that the Commission will ensure that what they recommend is implemented and appealed to MPs to amend the Indemnity Act to enable the Commission have power to investigate the armed forces and civil servants.


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