, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20 – The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) has begun the process of investigating statements received from Kenyans in preparation for the hearings stage of its work in 2011.
Speaking after receiving a memorandum from the Victims of the 1982 Coup Attempt, (VOCA) welfare association, TJRC Acting Chairperson Tecla Namachanja Wanjala said the Commission had collected 12,000 statements and 250 memoranda so far which would be investigated, verified and form the basis for hearings and recommendations.
“This Commission is providing a forum to enable Kenyans to deal with historical injustices. Kenyans should record their issues accurately and in as much detail as possible before the end of January 2010 to ensure the injustices they have suffered enter into the TJRC’s official record,” Ms Wanjala said.
She added that the Commission was well prepared for the final leg of its work in 2011, which would be dominated by the hearings and completion of its report and recommendations.
“Our hearings are scheduled to start early next year. They will be in three main categories namely, individual, institutional and thematic and event hearings which will be open to the public. The Commission will conduct reconciliation meetings to allow Kenyans to deal with the historical injustices in a free and reconciliatory manner,” she added.
She thanked the government for releasing funds for staff salaries for the month of November and said the Commission was confident that the requisite funding for its activities would be released before the end of the year.
VOCA welfare association Chairperson Peter Wambua thanked the Commission for the recognition of their group and for the opportunity to present their memorandum to the TJRC.
“We are particularly pleased to present this memorandum, to be able to tell our own story where we have come from where we are and what we would like the Commission to do for us. We are therefore urging our more than 1,000 members countrywide to record their statements with the Commission and ensure our story is accurately told,” Mr Wambua said.
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 to February 2008.
The Commission is required to 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.
TJRC Commissioners are: Tecla Namachanja Wanjala ( Ag.Chair Kenya) , Gertrude Chawatama (Commissioner Zambia), Amb. Berhanu Dinka (Commissioner Ethiopia), Ahmed Sheikh Farah (Commissioner Kenya), Dr.Tom Ojienda (Commissioner Kenya), Margaret Shava (Commissioner Kenya), Prof. Ronald Slye (Commissioner USA).
The Commission CEO/ Secretary is Patricia Nyaundi.