, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8 – Former National Cohesion Secretary Dr Kithure Kindiki has recommended that the mandate of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) be extended to at least seven years for it to successfully carry out its work.
Dr Kindiki says the two years provided in the law are not enough compared to its broad mandate which covers historical injustices from 1963. He is advocating for the amendment of the law to provide an extension before the commission starts its work.
“Two years is not possible to investigate all the injustices from independence to the post election violence as provided in the law,” Dr Kindiki, who is an International Law lecturer, said.
The University of Nairobi don further recommends that more safeguards be put in place to ensure that the government implements the recommendations of the commission.
TJRC is seen as a sure way to end perennial disputes among communities that usually heighten during the election period. Most of them are blamed on historical injustices and many revolve around land.
Parliament is expected to endorse nine names forwarded by the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs before the same are passed on to the President to appoint six commissioners of the TJRC. However the secrecy surrounding the identification of persons to be appointed commissioners has raised eyebrows.
“In a matter like national reconciliation we needed greater transparency and incentives to tap the best there is, but it was done so hurriedly,” Dr Kindiki complained.
The commission is expected to provide a platform where people can ventilate and lay bare their complaints. perpetrators of the injustices will be expected to tell the truth before seeking amnesty. The commissioners are supposed to come up with homegrown solutions to addressing the injustices and acts of human rights abuses.
“In a polarised country like ours the solution to national cohesion is going to come from the TJRC and so if it is resourced well and we remain vigilant therein lies our hope,” Dr Kindiki opined.
South Africa and Liberia are examples of countries that have gone this same TJRC route in search of unity and have recorded remarkable progress. However experts have remarked that the success of the Kenyan commission depends on its openness, independence and clear action points.