, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – The besieged chairman of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission Bethuel Kiplagat has finally bowed to public pressure and quit.
Capital News confirmed that Mr Kiplagat got an audience with President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday morning and handed in his resignation letter.
Mr Kiplagat later sent a statement to newsrooms saying that he took the decision after the Chief Justice appointed a tribunal to investigate his conduct last Friday.
“I would like to state clearly that I indeed very much welcome the decision of the Chief Justice to ascertain the truth concerning the allegations that have been made against me,” he said.
“In order to allow the tribunal to carry out its mandate, I am therefore as of today stepping aside from my day to day responsibilities at the TJRC.”
Mr Kiplagat had kept everyone guessing on Monday after speculation mounted that he had decided to quit the TJRC after months of clinging onto the post.
Hours after he quit on Tuesday, officials of the TJRC called a news conference where they expressed their support for his decision.
In a sly turn of events, American professor Ronald Slye was present at the news conference, where he stated that he had rescinded his decision to quit the TJRC.
Mr Kiplagat has been facing mounting public pressure to resign from fellow commissioners, the civil society and the public after questions were raised about his ability to lead the TJRC since he was in government when a number of atrocities that the commission is supposed to investigate were committed.
Among the issues that the public want cleared include the Wagalla massacre of 1984, and the circumstances surrounding the death of one-time Cabinet Minister Robert Ouko.
Mr Kiplagat was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when Dr Ouko was killed.
He was appointed chairman of TJRC last year.
The commission was set up by legislation approved by Parliament to investigate unlawful killings, human rights violations, historical injustices, corruption and ethnic clashes since 1963.
The TJRC was mandated to make specific recommendations to the Attorney General on what crimes to bring to court.
However, the commission has done little with credibility queries and financial constraints all linked to the controversy of Mr Kiplagat’s presence at the commission.
It was unclear if the commission will enjoy public trust following his resignation and after almost two years of controversy.