NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – President Mwai Kibaki on Friday evening appointed a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the ethnic violence in Tana River, Tana North and Tana Delta Districts where more than 100 people have lost their lives in weeks.
A statement from State House said that the commission will be chaired by Lady Justice Grace Nzioka and will include Chief Magistrate Emily Ominde and Principal Magistrate Abdulqadir Lorot Ramadhan as commissioners.
The president also appointed MacDonald Oguya and Joseph Narangwi to be joint secretaries of the commission, while Wamuti Ndegwa and Ruth Lutta will be assisting counsel.
The commission is mandated to investigate the ethnic violence that has occurred in Tana Delta districts with a view of establishing the origin, the probable, the immediate and the underlying causes of the violence.
It will also be tasked with looking into the action taken by law enforcement agencies with respect to incidents of crime arising out of or committed in the course of the said ethnic violence and the effectiveness of the actions taken.
Other tasks for the commission include assessing the level of preparedness and the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in controlling the said ethnic violence and in preventing the occurrence of such ethnic violence in future.
The inquiry is expected to recommend action including possible prosecution or further criminal investigations against persons who may have committed offences related to the ethnic violence and action that that must be taken to prevent future violence.
It is expected to report back in one month unless it seeks extensions to its term.
“In accordance with section 7(1) of The Commissions Of Inquiry Act, the commission should report thereon as soon as reasonably practicable, but not later than the 30 days from the date of being sworn in into office or any such other reasonable extension as I may in writing extend,” read the communication from the President.
The Nzioka-led commission has been directed to co-opt not more than two persons who could facilitate effective execution of its functions on specific issues spelt out in the terms of reference.
Last Thursday, the Cabinet ordered the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the Tana Delta conflict that has left over 100 people dead within three weeks.
Already, the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has welcomed the formation of a commission and said his office will deal firmly with those found culpable by the commission.
Two weeks ago, 38 people were killed in a village in Kilelengwani; only two weeks after 69 others were massacred in the Reketa area of Tana River last month.
President Kibaki then ordered police to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
More than 1,000 paramilitary police officers who graduated from the General Service Unit (GSU) training college in Embakasi, Nairobi have also been deployed in the area.
Galole MP Dhadho Godhana who was the Assistant Minister for Livestock and Development has already been sacked over the Tana River Killings.
Before his sacking, Godhana had been charged with two counts of incitement to violence, charges he denied and was released on a cash bail of Sh500,000 by Magistrate Lucy Nyambura.