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Tribunal: Imanyara cries blackmail

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara on Tuesday accused the government of using the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to blackmail him over his ‘opposition’ to the formation of a Special Tribunal for poll violence suspects.

The MP said that he suspected a sinister motive in the anti-graft body calling for a probe into an incident last year, where he wrote to the National Cereals and Produce Board to supply maize to secondary schools in his constituency, to avoid any crisis. 

“Schools in my constituency have an acute shortage of white maize. Kindly assist… to purchase the maize to supply the schools and institutions in my constituency to avoid any crisis,” read the letter that was dated September 25, 2008.

The MP, who has led the onslaught in opposing the Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill, referred to an incident where the Head of Civil Service implored Meru leaders to convince Mr Imanyara to change his tune and back the tribunal.

“If the government and the KACC believe that they can intimidate, blackmail, and scandalise MPs in order that they do not vote against the Constitutional Amendment Bill, they are dreaming. I appeal to my colleagues to refuse to be blackmailed by KACC and vote with their conscience, and not allow this thing to proceed to Thursday. Let these people go to The Hague,” he said.

Mr Imanyara told a media conference at Parliament Buildings that he would not be honouring a summons from the Commission, requiring him to appear before it.

“I will not appear before Justice Ringera to account to him on the conduct to the people of Central Imenti, on the way I perform my duties as a Member of Parliament. And I say shame on him.”

At the same time, the legislator claimed that several other MPs had been served with similar summons, accusing the government side of resorting to threats and buying MPs to raise support for the formation of the Tribunal.

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An angry Mr Imanyara also challenged the anti-graft boss to resign for allowing the commission to be dragged into a political battle.

“They want to divert attention from the real issues and purporting to be investigating self-explanatory letters. Mr Ringera and his commission should fold up instead of wasting taxpayers’ money pretending to do investigations, because they are not doing any,” he scoffed.

The Imenti Central MP vowed that he would continue to reject the Tribunal and stressed that he would not give in to intimidation.

He said that he and some other MPs would only agree to a tribunal supervised by the UN, similar to the one formed in Sierra Leone.

“I am a Nyayo House survivor. I’m an E-Block (a cell block that used to hold political prisoners at Kamiti Maximum Prison) survivor. So let them not fool anybody to think they intimidate any of us to vote for the government on a matter so serious as to entrench the culture of impunity into our laws. We will not accept it,” he concluded. 


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