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Raila flip flops on Waki report

NAIROBI, October 30 – The Waki report on post-poll violence got further bashing on Thursday, after Prime Minister Raila Odinga beat a hasty retreat and led 75 Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) MPs in rejecting it.

Mr Odinga, who has been vocal in pressing for the full implementation of the report, chaired a four-and a-half hour ODM parliamentary group meeting which declared that the report had "incurable errors, defects and fundamental constitutional contradictions." 

The Prime Minister sat to the right of the Parliamentary Group Secretary Ababu Namwamba as he read out the statement which said in part:  "We were the aggrieved party in the mishandling of the 2007 general election and its violent aftermath.  Accordingly, no case of premeditation can be rightly brought or sustained against any member of ODM."

He said the party had been persuaded by its legal team that the report by the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence (CIPEV) was flawed and ought to be rejected in total.

"We have noted that the report itself admits certain shortcomings that would make its implementation a travesty of justice," Mr Namwamba said.

He said the Commission, for instance, acknowledged that the evidence that was presented before it could not be tested through questioning those implicated due to time constraints.

"Based on this admission by the Commission itself, it is crystal clear that the rules of natural justice were not followed before recommendations were made either in respect of adverse allegations or steps to be taken against persons purportedly named," he told reporters. 

The party said provisions of the constitution with regard to the protection of presumption of innocence were undermined by the Waki commission.  "The provisions of the constitution safeguarding human dignity and the protection of reputations of persons were also violated."

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Mr Namwamba said contents of the secret envelop that was handed over to the chief mediator of the Kenya peace talks former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan could not be subjected to legal proceedings or investigation within or outside Kenya.

The party also took issue with failure to disclose the content of the report to President Mwai Kibaki – who was the appointing authority of CIPEV – and vowed to block any attempt to try those implicated.

"ODM being part of the coalition government will resist and stop any rendition or surrender of Kenya citizens to a tribunal outside its territory as the national jurisdiction and national systems have not collapsed."

The position taken by ODM came barely hours after the American and German Ambassadors urged President Kibaki and Mr Odinga to implement the Waki report in full as a way of ending the culture of impunity in Kenya.

Michael Ranneberger and Walter Lindner said that while they supported a home-grown solution to tackling the report, the international community wanted to see all those implicated account for their actions.

They told journalists that they supported the CIPEV report and were keen to see its full implementation.

"That is the only way of strengthening the democratic institutions in this country. I know President Kibaki and the Prime Minister are committed to implement this report and I think that anybody speculating to the contrary will be proved wrong," Mr Ranneberger said.

He said the US and Germany were concerned about Kenya because of the importance they attach to its people.

"You saw how the US, Germany and other countries reacted to this crisis and that tells you the importance we attach to Kenya," he said.

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The two envoys warned that unless the report was implemented, there would be a repeat of what happened in the country during the next election in 2012.

They said the international community was keenly watching all the steps the government was taking on the report and would take a final decision once the deadline to form a local tribunal expires.

"Whoever is named in the report must face the law. That is the only way to end impunity," he said.

Mr Lindner on his part said the decision to keep the names of the suspects secret was the best way of handling the situation "because then it renders those named innocent until proved otherwise."

"The commissioners have done a great job.  Their findings and recommendations are good and should be worked on. We are watching," he said.

But speaking elsewhere, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka appeared to take the same route as ODM, saying report should not be implemented in full since it would open up wounds that had started to heal.

Mr Musyoka said it was regrettable that several people were killed during the post-election violence but warned that if careers of politicians implicated in the violence were destroyed it would be detrimental to the healing process in the country.

"We will be rubbing wounds that had already begun to heal. And this will take the country backwards.  Anything that takes us backwards, I am opposed to. It should be rejected."

The Vice President also said that President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity was still consulting and would soon come up with a unified position on the report.

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He suggested that the country explores ways to bring about reconciliation among its people.

"Having read the document and as a lawyer I know it is very difficult to implement it even if threats of (trying people at the) International Criminal Court fly in the air."

On Wednesday, 20 MPs from Central and Eastern Kenya rejected the report in totality saying it was too flawed to be acted upon.

The MPs led by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his Cabinet colleague Kiraitu Murungi faulted the report saying the real culprits have been left out and instead it was victims that were targeted.

The latest reactions come ahead of a special retreat of Cabinet Ministers, Assistant Ministers and accounting officers. It was expected that the issue of the report could be on the agenda of the get-together.

(Additional Reporting by Rob Jillo)

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