Pressure piles on Kenya TJRC team

April 20, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – The Chairman of the panel that selected commissioners to the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) has now supported calls that the team be disbanded.

Daniel Ichangi said on Tuesday that the commission had failed Kenyans.

“They were chosen to do a job and they have not been able to do it. You may end up with very qualified people but they may not be able to perform.”

“The sum total with the commissioners is, have they been able to carry out their mandate as expected.? The answer obviously is no,” he surmised.

He said the selection panel settled on the commissioners since they were the most qualified but they have now failed to live up to expectation.

“This was the first selection process that involved people outside the political class.  The job was done transparently and it was done in very difficult circumstances,” Mr Ichang’i explained.

“Maybe what we are seeing are the fruits of a law that was not very clearly thought out. We must agree and resolve to follow the law,” he emphasised.

On Monday, Betty Murungi resigned as a commissioner citing credibility questions surrounding Chairman Bethuel Kiplagat, barely weeks after she stepped aside as the vice-chairperson.

In her letter, Ms Murungi said she was resigning pursuant to Section 16(b) of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2008.

“I am doing so because my position had become untenable,” she said while thanking the President for the opportunity to serve Kenya in the important Commission.

Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo also asked the remaining eight commissioners to step down and allow “a new team with the commitment and goodwill” to be constituted.

Many Kenyans also shared his viewpoint as they felt that the commission had not lived up to its expectations.

“These people have not started doing anything at all,” said John Odongo, a mason based in the industrial area. “The commission cannot perform its duties properly if the individuals in it are quarreling.”

“They are not performing their duties since the Kenyans were waiting for the results and they are not delivering them,” said Shulamite Amina, an M-PESA attendant in the CBD.

“They are just using money and I think that they should just go,” she added.

They also had divergent views about the resignation of Ms Murungi.

“It was a good move because they (commissioners) were not confident with the chairman and so everything will be okay if all of them go,” Mr Odongo said.

“An institution is there to serve the whole nation, so if individuals do not fit into it for one reason or the other, they have to go. I personally think that they should go since there are so many issues about the chairman.”

Last week there were reports that the commission had misappropriated millions of shillings through illegitimate payments including elders’ allowances and casual workers’ payments.


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