NAIROBI, June 19 – The Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence (CIPEV) will start public hearings in the next two weeks, Chairman Justice Phillip Waki said on Thursday.
Waki stated that the commission had already laid down the basic groundwork for its operations including its offices at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), and is ready to hit the road.
“We have sat and formulated the rules of procedures, we have recruited staff, we have sought office equipment and settled other logistics of security and the entire process is near completed.”
The commission will however not offer outright witness protection to the public, and Waki noted that the applications for these would be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Although Parliament has passed a law providing for this it doesn’t have a commencement date as yet.
“This Act is law but it doesn’t have a commencement date so we can’t use it; and therefore we will set up mechanisms to protect those who need protection,” he assured.
Named by President Mwai Kibaki late last month and sworn in early this month, the commission is mandated to evaluate events surrounding the post election violence.
According to the commission’s terms of reference, it is to investigate the facts and circumstances related to acts of violence that followed the 2007 presidential election.
It is also to investigate the actions or omissions of state security agencies during the violence and give recommendations where necessary.
The panel is to suggest steps to be taken to prevent or control a similar occurrence, as well as propose how to bring to justice people responsible for criminal acts during the mayhem.
The team could also give its recommendations to the proposed Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission if it so wishes.
Waki stated that the commission would take into account events prior to the election period as it seeks to unearth the truth.
“Surrounding circumstances can go as far back as we can if that is relevant to the violence we are investigating,” Waki explained.
The other commissioners include New Zealand based Gavin MC Fadden and Pascal Kambale from DR Congo. George Kegoro is the commission’s secretary and David Majanja, the commission’s assisting Counsel – both from Kenya.
Speaking after hosting members of the Editors’ Guild, Waki assured that the Commission would maintain close contact with the public including live coverage of their proceedings.
The commission has already taken 25 days out of their 90-day timeline, but the Chairman has exuded confidence that the commission would meet the time limit.
“We are thinking about putting every single minute to fit our work plans within that period, but if we do not we will put forward our case to those who expect us to deliver our report. We will give our reasons and if we apply for an extension we hope they will understand,” he said.
Those likely to be on the spotlight in the proceedings include politicians, their supporters, security officers, community leaders and the media over their role in the skirmishes.