NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo has termed as an ‘embarrassment’ the request by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) for more time to complete its report on injustices across the country.
Speaking during a meeting with News Editors on Monday, Kilonzo said that the commission had ample time to finalise the report and release it to the public.
“This for me is an embarrassment because strictly speaking, the country should have gone into the next elections having read and internalised the contents of that report,” he said.
He further indicated that the report was crucial for enabling Kenyans to learn from past mistakes.
“To come to this point and we do not have the report is deplorable. It is only when you own the past and you understand its negative impact that you can deal with your present and your future. I salute the Cabinet for agreeing to publish the bill but speaking as a Kenyan, I am sorry. It is a disappointment,” he said.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa last week filed a motion seeking Parliament’s permission to extend the term of TJRC by three months for it to complete its mandate.
“The report from TJRC should have been with Kenyans at the beginning of January so that we can factor it in some of the things that we are doing. You will notice that from perspective, we will be going blind on some of these initiatives that we are undertaking but we will look for sunglasses to help us out,” Kilonzo added.
Should Parliament approve the extension, the truth commission would now submit its final report in November.
The commission was initially supposed to hand over its final report to the president by August 3 this year but is yet to finish compiling it due to internal wrangles.
The commissioners have been compiling the final report since February. If granted, this will be the third extension of TJRC’s term.
The first extension of six months was granted in November 2011 when the Commission failed to finish its work. The period ran up to May 2012 when the commission sought more time.
The decision to extend the time again was arrived at after the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister met a section of the commissioners led by the chairman Bethuel Kiplagat.
Wamalwa said that he regretted the delay in completion of the report but added that it is no use for the commission to hand over a half baked report.
He could not however explain why the commission has been compiling the final report since February when it had not undertaken hearings for amnesty and reparations.