MPs scold Cabinet over local tribunal

August 5, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5- Members of Parliament on Wednesday accused the government of not doing enough to create a Special Tribunal and leaving trials of post poll suspects to a doubtful Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).

Led by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale, the MPs expressed anger with Cabinet for attempting to kill the option of credible local trials with former Justice minister Martha Karua arguing that the President and Premier are rescinding on their earlier pledge to create a local court.

Ms Karua who is the Gichugu MP said: “Isn’t it contempt of Kenyans to abandon the idea of a local tribunal even without an attempt and could the PM confirm or deny that they have been held hostage by members of their cabinet whom they can fire but are afraid to fire on this matter.”

During the Prime Minister’s Time in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi said the Special Tribunal Bill that the government had fronted in February was clearly flawed.

“I feel the house is being misled. That Bill when it came here was rejected because we felt that it had enormous flaws and weakness. What some of us expected Cabinet to do is improve in the new bill,” he said.

But Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was responding to a request for ministerial statement from the Ikolomani MP, defended that MPs are the ones who made it clear they would not legislate in favour of local prosecutions.

He said: “That Bill failed because Parliament denied it the numbers that it required (to pass) not because of Cabinet. Faced with that kind of fate what was the Cabinet to do? When the Cabinet decided to try and bring the Bill back the honourable member himself (Khalwale) and others are on record saying that is a waste of time.”

Kimilili MP Simiyu Eseli caused laughter when he said the principals were practicing what he called ‘Railanomics’ and ‘Kibakinomics’, some sort of new calculation where Cabinet resolve to settle the post poll issue as: “Local tribunal divide by the Hague in brackets minus Mau forest is equal to TJRC.”

Mr Odinga replied: “Parliament minus draft bill equals The Hague.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had earlier made an appeal to Kenya’s MPs to support the formation of a local tribunal.

She said: “As hard as it is to resolve this internally I think it is better for Kenyans.”


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