NAIROBI, September 25 – He spent six months in Kenya to seek answers over the 2007 disputed presidential elections. Principally, he was to lead a team that determined the integrity of the polls and make recommendations.
Meet Justice Johann Kriegler, the chairman of the Independent Review Commission who insists his mandate was not to tell Kenyans who won the highly contested election.
He says he has no apologies to make if he disappointed many when his report failed to state who was the victor.
Justice Kriegler is a stickler to time and is committed to his work which he completed on schedule and handed in his report to the President.
Capital News caught up with him and he explains his experience in Kenya during the duration of his task.
Q. How would you describe the six months you have been in Kenya?
A. In one word- fascinating. It has been a fascinating gross experience for me. I have learnt very many things and I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to meet so many fascinating people, I have seen so many fascinating places, and I have also learnt something about elections for which I am very thankful.
Q. What did you like most?
A. I liked the country itself, the nature, its openness, the blue skies, your fields, your mountains and the amazing Maasai Mara which is, of course, unique. Kenya is unique and beautiful.
Q. What did you hate most during the work of your commission?
A. The anger of some people in the Rift Valley due to the electoral disaster. That was the most frightening of everything I came across. The people have hot tempers, so hot, describing it is even difficult. But I saw it, I spoke to them.
That intensity of emotion makes a man to feel for the future of the country. Unless those people who are so angry with the process can be brought back into the family of Kenya. Then everybody should be frightened, because they are angry men. Oh my, that was scary! Anyone else could have been scared by such tempers.
Q. Clearly, there are people who are not about to let it go, but based on your six months experience, does Kenya still have a chance of recovering from the effects of the post election violence?
A. Of course! Of course you have a chance, but you have got to start! But it doesn’t look to be from this morning as just a lot of people are saying, where can I help tomorrow and Saturday is not a bad day for starting. But most important, is to begin and aggressively push for the implementations of the recommendations.