Kenya VP says options open to avoid The Hague

February 13, 2009 12:00 am
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, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 13 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has said the government has not run out of options to try perpetrators of the post-election violence, even after MPs rejected attempts in Parliament to set up a Special Tribunal.

He said the President could re-introduce the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill (2008) and muster the support to have it passed.

“It’s not all lost. Please tell the country that nothing is lost. We still have an opportunity… we can still make amends.  We can still do it,” the VP said.

He said alternatively, the Head of State had the liberty to form a tribunal with local and foreign experts without seeking Parliament’s approval.

“He is not short of options and probably doesn’t have to come back to the same House. He has several options; one which can be that he sets up a tribunal and see whether Kenyans will run away from it.  He can actually set up a tribunal with Commonwealth judges.”

He added: “What is going to happen to the members who voted for The Hague and then there is no Hague in one year’s time?  Our people might still living in the IDP camps.  These are the issues that we must face up to.”

On Thursday, 93 lawmakers voted to reject the Bill insisting that the suspects should face trial at the International Criminal Court, in line with recommendations of the Waki Commission.

The MPs accused the executive of trying to make Parliament rubberstamp their decisions without consulting them.

On Friday, former UN chief Kofi Annan expressed disappointment with the development, and said the panel of Eminent African Personalities would  meet to spell out the way forward.

President Mwai Kibaki is in the meantime urging MPs not to let political convenience come in the way of the constitutional review and implementing the reform agenda the country needs.

The President said it was crucial that MPs lend support to the law review process.

“We encourage all Kenyans to be true patriots who will not let the whims of political expediency come in the way of the constitutional review that is imperative at this defining moment in our country’s history,” he said.

He has told MPs at a meeting in Nairobi that it was critical that Parliament be at the forefront in passing legislation that would form the basis of implementing reforms aimed at enhancing efficiency, and ending graft in the country.

“The 10th Parliament is called upon to be at the forefront in passing legislation that will form the basis of implementing reforms in our country, especially those aimed at enhancing efficiency, effectiveness and war against corruption,” the President said.

The President has also assured that his government was determined to end the culture of impunity, and appealed to Members of Parliament to show their commitment to implementing the principles of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act.

“My government is determined to end the culture of impunity, and promote justice, reconciliation and national cohesion.  I wish to appeal to Members of Parliament to show their full commitment to these objectives which are key ingredients of Agenda Four of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act,” he said.

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