Rights activists reject Kiplagat ‘comeback’

January 6, 2012 2:25 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 6 – An umbrella body for civil society groups in the country has opposed the return of Bethuel Kiplagat to the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).

The Kenya Transition Justice Network (KTJN) alleged that Kiplagat stormed the TJRC offices and he has been intimidating workers demanding reports compiled by the commission.

“Mind you there are pages where he has been mentioned in the reports,” Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights Officer Kamanda Mucheke told journalists.

Kamanda said Kiplagat should leave the office until he is cleared by a tribunal, “we demand his vacation from office until he has been cleared of allegations by the tribunal.”

The tenure of a tribunal formed to investigate allegations against the embattled career diplomat run out before it commenced the proceedings.

“We therefore urge the Chief Justice either to extend the mandate of the former tribunal or constitute a new tribunal that will comprehensively investigate and conclude the substantive concerns raised,” he asserted.

KTJN is further asking the President and the Prime Minister to address the stalemate which they say will affect the work of TJRC which is expected to hand over its report in May.

Another officer of the human rights body Davis Malombe said the stalemate is likely to weaken Kenya’s steps in addressing historical injustices besides impunity that has left victims with physical and psychological torture leave alone poverty.

He wondered why Kiplagat was allegedly still on the pay roll earning almost a million shillings per month yet his conduct was still in question.

“We have learnt of late that Kiplagat is receiving Sh800,000 with Sh25,000 airtime and a car. You think there is any hope for TJRC if Kiplagat makes a comeback?”

Speaking on behalf of International Commission of Jurists- Kenya, Roselyn Odoyo said Kiplagat did not enjoy the confidence of the victims yet that is the primary consideration in a commission such as the TJRC.

Kiplagat who was sworn in as chair of TJRC in August 2009 became the topic of controversy as civil society groups and members of the public questioned his adverse mention in the 1984 Wagalla Massacre.

They also pointed fingers at his alleged in irregular land deals as quoted in the Ndung’u Land report. Despite the public outcry, Kiplagat was unwilling to vacate his position until a tribunal was set up that required him to step aside until investigations were completed.

However he moved to court challenging the tribunal but he withdrew the case last year before any ruling was made.

But according to KTJN, “he is not fit to hold any public office. We will pursue him to ensure he does not hold any public office anywhere in this country.”


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