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Violence: Kenya MP pleads with Annan

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – Chief Mediator Kofi Annan has been asked by a Kenyan MP to give the country more time solve the problems created by post poll violence, and not issue threats.

Amagoro Member of Parliament Sospeter Ojaamong has argued that the process of reconciliation should not be hastened.

“To me, whether they take the names to The Hague, it will not sort out the problems. It might aggravate the problems. We know the cause of all our problems in Kenya,” he claimed.

“It is not that we do not know the perpetrators of the violence. We know them, but let the healing take place first. The lives of millions of Kenyans are far much better than hurrying something and then losing all the Kenyans,” he explained.

Last week, Mr Annan said that Kenya had until the end of August to set up a special tribunal to try perpetrators of the poll violence, failure to which he would forward a list of suspects contained in a secret envelope to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

While appreciating efforts by the former UN boss in bringing peace to the country after fighting erupted in early 2008, the Amagoro legislator stressed that the process of reconciliation was of greater concern.

“We appreciate what he did and that was enough. We know what is expected of us to bring healing to our nation and our people,” Mr Ojaamong said.

“Let him leave it to us. We are not so irresponsible to forget what happened and those who did those heinous acts.”

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At the same time, a local civil society organisation backed Mr Annan’s ultimatum to forward the list of post election violence perpetrators to The Hague if a special tribunal to prosecute post election offenders is not put in place.

The International Centre for Policy and Conflict Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina said that Kenya  was under  an international  legal obligation  to investigate  and, if admissible   evidence is gathered, prosecute  all those  suspected  of having  committed crimes under international law.

He said that if the ICC were to intervene, it would only be able to prosecute a few of those responsible for such crimes, thus leaving an enormous gap of impunity.

He stressed the need for the government to fulfil its obligation to establish an independent and impartial justice mechanism, to ensure that there is no impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said a motion seeking to establish a local tribunal would soon be tabled in Parliament.

The PM recalled that the first move to establish a special tribunal flopped owing to lack of support from some MPs.

During a fund-raiser for a church in Murang’a East District on Sunday, he said Parliament would debate the Motion after it passes the recently tabled budget.

The Premier stated that should MPs fail to agree, there will be no option but to have the perpetrators of the poll violence tried in The Hague.

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