MPs summon Kenya Truth Commission

February 23, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23- The Parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs has now summoned members of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission for a crisis meeting this Friday over the continued pressure for the resignation of its chairman.

Committee member Ababu Namwamba told Capital News on Tuesday that his team “will be consulting with the members to look for a way out of the current credibility crisis facing the commission.”

“We are concerned about the current resistance to the leadership (of Bethuel Kiplagat),” he said.

Several civil society organizations have sustained calls for Ambassador Kiplagat’s resignation claiming he is not credible to lead since he was a senior official of the KANU government when most human rights violations were committed.

Last week the Kenya Human Rights Commission alleged it had evidence to link Ambassador Kiplagat to some of the violations and gave him a seven-day ultimatum to step aside.

Chief Justice Evan Gicheru is also expected to appoint three judges to a hear case in which a number of former MPs are questioning the eligibility if Ambassador Kiplagat’s leadership.

“We will be able to come up with a way forward after the Friday meeting,” Mr Namwamba said.

The besieged commission has been holding crisis meetings to seek a way forward, as it become more apparent that the validity of its work is at stake.

The last of the meetings was held on Tuesday. The commissioners are said to be divided right in the middle over whether the chairman should step aside. 

Ambassador Kiplagat has maintained that he will not step aside and shoved off accusations that he was involved in any atrocities by the former regime.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo is also on record defending the Chairman and accusing the civil society activists of failing to use laid down structures o raise their objections.
The Minister said the government would not take any action since he was not a government employee but was recruited through a process in which the civil society was one of the key participants.
A panel comprising members of the private sector and the civil society had recommended Ambassador Kiplagat alongside former Anglican Bishop Benjamin Nzimbi and Rev Timothy Njoya for the post of chairman.

The Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs settled on Ambassador Kiplagat and his appointment was subsequently passed by MPs.


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