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Lawmakers not done with TJRC yet

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – The parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs says its 72-hour ultimatum for the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission [TJRC] to resolve its wrangles is still in force, despite the establishment of a tribunal to probe the chairman\’s conduct.

Committee chairman Ababu Namwamba told Capital News on Sunday that they would still explore legal options when the deadline expires on Sunday.

"Our ultimatum still stands, the commission must have resolved its wrangles on expiry of 72 hours tomorrow, if it will not have done that by tomorrow [Monday], we as a committee will proceed with means of resolving this matter," Mr Namwamba said on telephone.

"We have not changed our position, especially if by the end of tomorrow the chairman continues to insist that he must remain in office," he added.

The committee had threatened to repeal an Act of Parliament that established the commission, unless it resolves its wrangles.

Chief Justice Evan Gicheru on Friday established a tribunal to investigate the conduct of the embattled TJRC chairman Bethuel Kiplagat and give a report within six months.

The tribunal comprising five persons is chaired by former Court of Appeal Judge William Deverell. Others include retired High Court Judges Onesmus Mutungi and Benjamin Kubo, State Counsel Edwin Okello who will serve as an assisting counsel and Perpetual Waitere who will sit in as the commission secretary.

On Sunday, Mr Namwamba urged the commission to expedite its process and file a report within a month as opposed to the six months it has been given by the CJ.

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"We welcome the formation of the tribunal to investigate the conduct and character of the person of Mr Kiplagat but it should not take six months to give a report," Mr Namwamba said.

"I hope it is not used as a delaying tactic, and that is why we want it to be through with its work within a month. The issues the tribunal is investigating are matters that are known; things like the Wagalla Massacre and other accusations leveled against the chairman are issues that are in the public domain and it does not take six months to investigate them," he told us.

Since the appointment of the tribunal, Mr Kiplagat has remained mum and the President has not asked him to vacate office as required by the TJRC Act.

"The TJRC Act of 2008 as amended is very clear on when the Chief Justice sets up a tribunal on the chairperson or any other commissioner serving in this commission. Therefore it\’s upon the President to suspend the chairperson of this commission for as long as this tribunal is in place," an official of the TRJC said on Saturday.
He added that Mr Kiplagat could also resign on his own volition until the probe surrounding his integrity was concluded.


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