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Tension rising after ICC summons

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 17- The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on Thursday raised the red flag over threats to peace and national healing in areas where the ICC suspects hail from after the ICC summonses.

Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia listed Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley and Central provinces as regions that were most at risk noting that they were yet to recover from the effects of the post election violence.

Although he also said that the commission was in favour of the ICC process in the country, Dr Kibunjia argued that it would not help Kenyans fight impunity in its entirety.

“We agree that the Court will end impunity but we are being shortsighted in not seeing that in the absence of reconciliation our journey to 2012 is a minefield. We have not rebuilt our nation and we are obsessed with the ICC,” he said adding that the fixation on the ICC process risked derailing any attempts to foster unity.

Dr Kibunjia also explained that the commission had made the assessment after holding a series of town hall meetings, in the regions, aimed at addressing national integration. He added that the commission had been working with non governmental organizations in the areas to achieve the said objective.

The Chair further asked the President and Prime Minister to work together and lead peace campaigns across the country.

“We need to have a deliberate peace campaign ran by all leaders with the President and PM at the top. We don’t need to have a situation where the two are divided,” he said.

The commission renewed calls to leaders across the political divide asking them to refrain from ethnicising the matter.

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Dr Kibunjia added that the NCIC had written to the six Kenyans suspected of perpetrating the 2007 post poll chaos asking them not to fall back to their tribal cocoons.

“Summonses to The Hague are not a one way ticket; in fact those in the list have consistently said they will adhere to the rule of law so the biggest threat is the unhealthy mix of politics and judicial processes,” he said.

He also urged Kenyans to shift their focus to matters surrounding the Agenda IV goals so as to achieve national reform.

“Kenya must not allow the Ocampo issue to be translated into a battle between communities. And it is very important that we try to put more efforts in healing the country even as we do the ICC process because we are heading to 2012,” he said.

The commission further urged the government to establish a separate judicial process, devoid of political manipulations, that would see the other offenders of the violence brought to book.

“Post election violence victims in IDP camps are saying that the perpatrors still walk free in their midst; with no fear of arrest. We must ask ourselves whether the ICC will solve the problem of such perpetrators,” he added. 

He challenged the country’s civil societies as well as its international partners to maintain the sobriety calls to leaders so as to ensure they executed their mandate.

Dr Kibunjia said the commission would now issue weekly statements on the country’s position in matters of reconciliation and integration. 

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