MPs face backlash over KACC threats

January 7, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – Civil society organisations have rallied behind the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) in its fight against corruption and rubbished recent threats by Members of Parliament to disband it.

Led by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the organisations said it was selfish for MPs to toy with the idea of disbanding constitutional commissions when their colleagues are targeted.

KNCHR Commissioner Omar Hassan said on Friday that the independent offices should be allowed to operate without intimidation.

"We condemn this recent trend of disbandment," he said.

On Wednesday a section of ODM lawmakers threatened to disband the KACC claiming it was targeting their party after the prosecution of former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey. They accused the commission of being partial in its work.

In December another groups of MPs had threatened to disband KNCHR following allegations that it was coaching witnesses to testify against senior politicians as suspects of the post election violence.

"Independent commissions should be respected and given an opportunity to do their work," Mr Hassan voiced.

In Friday\’s joint statement read by Transparency International Executive Director Samuel Mbithi the organisations called for unconditional political support to KACC.

"The fight against this vice must begin somewhere and must not spare anybody involved," Mr Mbithi said.

"At this point allegations of bias against certain persons are premature and misplaced."

The organisations in the meantime vowed they will continue to exert pressure to the government to ensure officials named by the International Criminal Court as masterminds of the post election violence are suspended until the investigations are completed.

The activists said the continued stay of the officials in office sends wrong signals which may imply that the government is unlikely to cooperate with the ICC.

"It behoves the President and the Prime Minister to suspend these suspects if they don\’t resign voluntarily," said Haki Focus Executive Director Haroun Ndubi.

Government officials named by the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo as post election violence suspects who are still holding office include Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Postmaster General Hussein Ali who served as police commissioner at the time of violence.

Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and his Eldoret North counterpart William Ruto who are also named as suspects quit their ministerial positions over abuse of office and fraud charges respectively.

In a joint press conference on Friday afternoon,  KNCHR chairperson Florence Jaoko lashed out at MPs over their Motion seeking to have Kenya pull out of the ICC, terming the move as \’retrogressive\’.

"We do not want to pull out of the ICC and so we are appealing to the President to ignore parliamentarians," she said.


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