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Cabinet meets over Waki report

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – The Cabinet entered a crucial meeting Thursday morning to give the way forward on a controversial report on the deadly post election violence early this year.

Members of a Cabinet committee seeking ways to implement the Waki Commission report were scheduled to present their recommendations on the setting up of a Special Tribunal to the Ministers.

The meeting at State House Nairobi brought together most of the 40 cabinet ministers. The session was chaired by President Mwai Kibaki and also in attendance were Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Speaking after a meeting on Tuesday, Cabinet Committee Chairman Musalia Mudavadi said they had discussed the statutes of the Bill on the formation of a Special Tribunal in detail as well as amendments to it.

The team began meeting last Wednesday and announced that they were eager to speed up the law that will create a local tribunal before the December 17 deadline set out in the Waki Report.

Mr Mudavadi who is also the Deputy Prime Minister said the team that negotiated the National Accord did not discuss amnesty for perpetrators of the post election violence as had been reported by a section of the media.

Other members of the committee are Cabinet Ministers Martha Karua, James Orengo, William Ruto, Moses Wetangula, Sally Kosgei, Sam Ongeri and Mutula Kilonzo.

According to the Waki report timetable, after December 17, the Government will have 45 days within which to set up the local tribunal.

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This includes the appointment of the three judges in each of the tribunal’s two chambers, the naming of a prosecutor and setting up a secretariat for the tribunal.

After this, the tribunal must start work within 30 days, meaning that it must be sitting by March 1 2009.

If this does not happen, a list of 11 suspects believed to have organised or funded the violence at the start of the year will be handed to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. 

The cabinet meeting was also expected to be updated by Agriculture Minister William Ruto on the status of the food crisis in the country. Mr Ruto was expected to table a proposal by farmers to have the government buy maize from them at Sh2,360 up from the current Sh1,920 per 90 Kg bag.

The meeting came a day after combative Members of Parliament defeated a move to pass without amendments a law that would have seen the disgraced Electoral Commission of Kenya disbanded.

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