NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) on Wednesday said it required an additional Sh500 million to facilitate public hearings which will kick off in March, and completion of its work.
Commissioner Ron Slye, who is charged with managing the commission\’s finances, said the money would last the commission until June, when the current financial year comes to an end.
The commission which had requested for Sh1.2 billion in the 2010/2011 Budget only received Sh190 million which was to be paid in quarterly instalments of Sh47 million.
"Both the ministries of Finance and Justice have promised us a small amount of money, a little under Sh100 million for this period. However we have about that much in our standing debt so even if we got that money, we could only pay off the debt," he said.
So far three instalments have been made.
Prof Slye explained that the first payments were made in the period between July and August while the second one was made in September/October.
"The government was kind enough to give us an advance in December so that we could pay our staff salaries. They have also promised to give us the last payment which will cover January and February. The problem is that once that\’s done, no more money will be coming to us," he said.
Acting chairperson Tecla Namachanja said the commission would carry on with its mandate despite challenges facing it.
She argued that it was paramount for the commission to facilitate the country\’s healing process adding that its tasks were still on course. The final report should be submitted in November.
"It is a painful experience yes but we would rather deal with the painful stories and start the healing process. If you continue covering the wound and it\’s on a leg then we will have to cut it off in the end. This is not why we were set up," she said.
Nominated MP Mohamed Affey also urged the government to unconditionally support the reconciliation commission. He argued that the government played a crucial role in facilitating its success.
"What we wanted was a commission that would document the atrocities that Kenyans have suffered in the last 40 years because your mother remains your mother even if she is ugly. So even if Kenya is an ugly state it is still our country and we must heal it," he quipped.
He further accused the government of being non-committal on the fate of the TJRC.
"When we established the truth commission, it was assumed that the government would fund it. Otherwise why did we establish it? They cannot perform with no funding. You should be surprised that a commission like this should be begging for money," he said.
He also charged that the government was party to the marginalisation of North and Upper Eastern parts of the country.
The commission is scheduled to hold one of its hearings in North Eastern Kenya.
The TJRC also met victims of the Nyayo Torture Chambers on Wednesday where it promised to investigate the matter to the end.
"No stone will be left unturned in ensuring that the cases are scrutinised and their hearing takes place," said Ms Namachanja.
Follow the author at https://twitter.com/wambuindonga