TJRC to start hearings in northern Kenya

January 31, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31- The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) on Monday announced that it would hold its first public hearings in Northern and upper Eastern Kenya, beginning in March, where it has so far collected 3,474 statements.

Acting Chairperson Tecla Namachanja said the hearings would be rolled out nonstop across the country, until September, winding up in Western and Mt Elgon regions.

She added that the commission would first conduct individual hearings in every region in the country before conducting institutional and thematic hearings.

"After the hearings in Northern and upper Eastern regions we will move to Nairobi and Nyanza, Central and Rift Valley, lower Eastern and Coast, and then conclude in Western and Mt Elgon," she said.

The commission has so far collected 20,000 statements and 303 memoranda across the country. Thirty percent of all the statements came from women; among their concerns were sexual violations and economic marginalisation.

Ms Namachanja also explained that the TJRC was in the final stages of investigating, analysing and selecting representative window cases which would be used during the hearings.

"The gross violation and historic injustices that the TJRC will centre on are a reflection of the statements and memoranda received. The main issues include land, political assassinations, women, corruption, armed militias among others," she said.

The statement taking was concluded on Monday.

"The Commission appreciates those Kenyans who recorded statements and prepared memoranda on the violations and injustices they have suffered and assures them that their efforts will not be in vain," said Ms Namachanja.

She further said that the commission had received adequate assurance from the government that Sh500 million would be disbursed to it later this week.

The commission had last week indicated that it needed the extra funds saying that its planned hearings would stall if the funds were not availed. 

"Both the ministries of Finance and Justice have promised us a small amount of money, a little under Sh100 million for this period. However we have about that much in our standing debt so even if we got that money, we could only pay off the debt," Commissioner Ron Slye had said.

The commission which had requested for Sh1.2 billion in the 2010/2011 budget only received Sh190 million which was to be paid in quarterly instalments of Sh47 million.

So far three instalments have been made; the first were made between July and August, the second ones were made in September/October and the third was made in December.

"They have also promised to give us the last payment which will cover January and February. The problem is that once that\’s done, no more money will be coming to us," Prof Slye had explained.

Ms Wanjala added that the Commission was partnering with key civil society organisations including Action Aid and the Association of Professional Societies of East Africa to ensure victims and public participation in the hearings.

"Others are the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, the Nubian and Kimarer Sugutek communities, the National Victims and Survivors Network and the Victims of the Coup Attempt," she said.

The Nyayo torture chambers victims, northern and upper eastern Kenya victims, Mau forest evictees, the Nubian and Ogiek communities have in recent times issued the commission with their memoranda.

These communities are seeking redress as well as compensation where applicable.

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