NAIROBI, October 29 – Debate on the report by the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence raged on Wednesday, with 20 Members of Parliament from Central Kenya rejecting it outright.,
The MPs who met in Nairobi asserted that the findings by the Justice Philip Waki-led team left out individuals who were publicly known to have incited people to mass action, resulting in killings. (Editor’s Note: The Waki report did not contain the names of any perpetrators).
The lawmakers who included Cabinet Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Kiraitu Murungi said the report focused on chaos that occurred in Nakuru and Naivasha “which were acts of self defence.”
An MP who attended the meeting said: "It’s rational for anyone to defend themselves when attacked. We want a fresh investigation into the chaos that rocked the country at the start of this year."
The stand by the Central Kenya MPs came as Regional Development Minister Fred Gumo differed with fellow MPs on the implementation of the report, saying the onus rested on Parliament and not political parties.
Mr Gumo said politicians should stop being apprehensive over the report, saying it was proper for Prime Minister Raila Odinga to push for its implementation. He also said MPs should not assume that they were being targeted.
He however said the secret list of alleged perpetrators that was handed over to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by the Commission’s chairman Justice Philip Waki should be made public to reduce anxiety.
"If you agree to a commission like this one, you must be ready to accept and implement it, but that does not mean it’s not subject to discussion. We have not discussed the report in Parliament or the Cabinet. If we find that this report is likely to tear the country apart, there will be no point for us to implement it," Mr Gumo said.
He added: "We should not be threatened that if we don’t implement the report then our names will be taken to The Hague (International Criminal Court)."
Mr Odinga and Agriculture Minister William Ruto have differed over the implementation of the report, with the PM saying post-election violence suspects must answer for their alleged crimes at the Special Tribunal for Kenya or the International Crimes Court (ICC).
Mr Ruto has however trashed the report describing it as useless and accusing the Waki team of failing to meet its mandate.
The Agriculture Minister, who was the first government official to dismiss the report, has criticised the Commission for “drawing up a list of suspects without exhaustively investigating their role in the post-election violence.”
The Party of National Unity (PNU) on the other hand has held a series of meetings, attended by Cabinet Ministers affiliated to the party, and called for the implementation of the report.
PNU Spokesperson George Nyamweya told Capital News earlier in the week that the recommendations of the report ought to be respected and implemented since a lot of time and taxpayers money had been used to draw up the report.
Mr Annan is expected to present the secret list of perpetrators to the ICC if Kenya fails to establish a local tribunal to try the key suspects by March 1, 2009.
The Orange Democratic Movement was due to hold a meeting on Tuesday to adopt a common stand on the report but the talks were shelved due to perceived differences within party ranks between backbenchers and the top leaders.
Mr Gumo took on party MPs over the issue, saying party wrangles should be resolved from within instead of publicly.
"We as ODM have the right to talk and speak as a party. There is nothing wrong with that but every party has a leader and we should respect them. If anyone has a problem with the leader, let us resolve it from within the party," he said.
He was referring to comments made by the party’s Parliamentary Group (PG) Secretary Ababu Namwamba who led 26 MPs in censuring the Prime Minister over his position on the Waki report.
The MPs maintained that ODM was yet to take a position on the report.
Mr Namwamba called another PG meeting on Thursday, to discuss the report after which a statement would be made on the party’s position over the report. It was understood that Mr Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi would attend the meeting.