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Land issues a thorn in TJRC side

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – The Institute of Surveyors of Kenya has urged the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) to tread carefully on land matters as it seeks to reunite Kenyans.

ISK Chairman Mwenda Makathimo on Saturday encouraged the reconciliation team to use the recently approved land policy in its work to address historical injustices in Kenya, many of which revolve around land issues.

Mr Makathimo said the policy approved by the Cabinet last month provides basic structures through which many of the land questions can be answered.

“The Policy has a whole special chapter on historical injustices with special proposals to be pursued. What TJRC need to do is help in public acknowledgement of wrongs done,” Mr Makathimo told Capital News in an interview.

He said that the TJRC should keenly examine the land issue and ride on the policy which already answers many of the queries. The Chairman also called on the reconciliation team to engage experts in land and conflicts.

“Dispute resolution is part of land management and experts come in handy,” he said.

“The commission can help us know what went wrong so that we can make it right. However Kenyans need to own the process of resolving. We also need to allow for diversity and acceptance of all Kenyans,” he said.

The Commission will have an operation mandate of two years and will explore the historical injustices for the period starting from independence in 1963 to the end of post election violence in February last year.

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The team’s findings and recommendations are meant to advise the government on measures to be taken to unite the evidently divided country.

The TJRC’s main functions are to investigate gross violations and abuses of human rights, including abductions, disappearances, detentions, torture, sexual violations, murder, extra-judicial killings, ill-treatment and expropriation of property suffered by any person.

The Chairman however warned the team that the land issue is quite controversial and it needs to be handled boldly, but carefully.

“Land is controversial and as such vested interests will feature but the wishes of most Kenyans and the objective and forward looking should override the selfish ones,” Mr Makathimo cautioned.

The team will be expected to identify and specify the victims of the violations and abuses and make appropriate recommendations for redress.

It will also investigate economic crimes and provide redress in respect to crimes of a sexual nature against female victims. No amnesty will be provided to anyone found guilty.


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