Kenyan Minister defends Kiplagat

April 14, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – Special Programmes Minister Naomi Shaban has defended the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) chairman Bethuel Kiplagat over calls that he should quit.

She described Mr Kiplagat as a renowned statesman who is recognised internationally and who should therefore be accorded due respect.

Dr Shaban said those who were calling on him to step aside were hypocritical in their demands.

“Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat has been appreciated in other countries as a person who has been leading peacemaking and conflict resolution, yet here at home we find it so difficult to appreciate our own,” she said.

“We have come up with all manner of stories and all manner of mudslinging, because as far as I am concerned, even most of the Members of Parliament who are screaming to be heard have received land from the government.”

She said that Mr Kiplagat should be given a chance to defend his reputation as he has requested.

“For some of us who are squatters we do appreciate that most of Kenyans who were in government or were related to somebody in government were given land,” she explained.

“So if that is an offense, I do believe that 90 percent of the elite are in trouble. So let as not throw stones from glass houses,” she said.

Pressure for the resignation of the embattled chairman continues to pile while he maintains that he is staying put.

On Tuesday, TJRC commissioners turned against him and called for his resignation in a bid to give the commission the required credibility to exercise its mandate.

A number of Kenyans hold the same view while others are of the opinion that he should be given the benefit of doubt.

“If the Kenyans do not want him, then why should he still continue to remain in the seat?” posed Jennifer Odongo, a businesswoman in the CBD.

“Kiplagat should step aside and pave way for investigations so that if he is to be given a job, he should be clean,” she told Capital News.

“I think he should not resign… they should form a commission and if he is found guilty, then he can step aside,” stated Stella Wanjiku, a Nairobi resident.

“Kenya is bigger than Kiplagat. He should just quit and let another person take his place.”

Many are of the view that the Kiplagat saga will impact negatively on the reconciliation process.

“He is the one who is stalling the whole process. There is no need for him trying to stay in the seat while nobody wants him there.”

“Both William Ruto and the minister of education did not agree to resign so actually, he is just following their examples,” said another.

Sections of the civil society and politicians have called for Mr Kiplagat to step aside as he has previously been adversely mentioned in the inquest into the murder of one-time foreign affairs minister Robert Ouko.

The renowned peacemaker has also been mentioned in a government report into illegal acquisition of land.

But Mr Kiplagat has insisted he has not committed any wrongs and will not resign or step aside not unless the tussle is resolved through a legal process.


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