Focus returns to Kenya truth body

May 2, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 2- Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has maintained calls for dissolution of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission team despite opposition from the embattled Commission.

KHRC Deputy Executive Director Tom Kagwe said the human rights commission would not work with the truth commission as its leadership had failed.

Mr Kagwe said KHRC would only collaborate with the truth commission if its chairman Bethuel Kiplagat resigned.

“Currently we are discussing some way forward but in the meantime what I can say clearly is that we have adopted a spirit of none cooperation with the TJRC. We will not engage them and we will not work with them until they put their house in order,” he said.

TJRC CEO Patricia Nyaundi however defended the commission against the disbandment proposal saying it would breed a culture of impunity. The TJRC CEO who argued that dissolving the commission would undermine public confidence asked Kenyans to support it and allow it to serve its purpose.

“When you go out to buy furniture… say a table and you get home and find that one of the legs is shorter you look for something to equalize the legs so that it serves you. I would therefore say that the TJRC is redeemable,” she argued.

Ms Nyaundi opined that Parliament would consider disbanding the commission once it reconvened and instead asked parliamentarians to closely reevaluate the suggestion as time was of essence. 

“I do not think that given the composition of our current Parliament this will be a priority,” she said adding that the National Assembly would be preoccupied with budgetary discussions.

Mr Kagwe added that KHRC would keep meeting victims of historical injustices and also pursue public interest litigation on their behalf.

“It is also important to remember that victims cannot wait for justice forever,” he said.

Capital News also caught up with victims of past injustices and sought their input about the issues facing the commission. Wafula Buke a former student’s leader who was detained and tortured in the infamous Nyayo House chambers said the challenges facing the commission did not surprise him.

“It is likely that this was the ultimate objective because the grapevine is that the establishment is encouraging Kiplagat to stay put and at the same time moving towards disbanding the commission,” he said.

“I believe in information so for me the greatest consolation that we can get from TJRC is truth- documentation of our hidden history so it should not be disbanded.”

For Nancy Wanjiru a victim of the post election violence the commission would help her get reparation for the injustices committed against her, “Those who want it disbanded are those who were not affected and they want the commission dissolved so that our plight can be forgotten.”

Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba has filed a notice of motion seeking the disbandment and reconstitution of the TJRC through amendment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act, 2008.

His motion has been lying before the House Business Committee partly due to the heavy legislative agenda in the last session, which included conclusion of the constitution review process.


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