, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – The family of renowned freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi has now reached out to the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) to help identify where the hero was buried and exhume his remains.
Led by his widow, Eloise Mukami Kimathi, the family petitioned the TJRC to deliver a promise made when the NARC government came to power in 2003.
"The struggle of my late husband is older than this country has been independent. Promises have been made and broken and yet it was for this same country\’s freedom that Kimathi fought and died. This is why we thought it important to officially record this matter with the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission,\’ Mrs Kimathi said.
She was accompanied by Simon Maina, Kimathi\’s son, son-in law Joseph Githinji and David Kobuko, a grandson.
TJRC Chairperson Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat thanked the family for taking the time to seek out the Commission and record their statement.
"The torture and death of Kimathi at the hands of colonialists is a great injustice; his family has suffered for a long time, certainly missed out on opportunities they would have enjoyed had he been alive and lacked closure due to the mystery surrounding the burial of his remains," Ambassador Kiplagat noted.
He said the TJRC mandate enabled it to look at antecedents to the period it covered – that is December 1963 in so far as it has a bearing on the present – and that the Kimathi case and others like it would be looked into.
"This month we celebrate the first Mashujaa (heroes) day under the new Constitution and it would be a fitting tribute if the Kimathi family was provided with tangible support that would finally free this Kenyan hero from prison," the Chairperson pointed out.
Ambassador Kiplagat urged those Kenyans who have suffered injustice and gross rights violations to record their statements with the Commission with the 300 statement takers across the country. This process will continue until January 2011 and will provide the main source of information for the TJRC hearings and final report.
The mandate of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission is to inquire into human rights violations including those committed by the State, groups or individuals. It includes but is not limited to politically motivated violence, assassinations, community displacements, settlements and evictions.
It will also inquire into major economic crimes, in particular grand corruption, historical land injustices and the illegal and irregular acquisition of land especially as these relate to conflict or violence, between December 12, 1963 and February 2008.
The Commission will receive statements from victims, witnesses, communities, interest groups, persons directly or indirectly involved in events or any other group or individual; undertake investigations and research; hold hearings and engage in activities as it determines to advance national or community reconciliation.