TJRC fate now lies with lawmakers (Watch Video),
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) on Monday said that it had already forwarded its interim report and application for an extension of time to Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo.
Acting Chairperson Tecla Namachanja said that the commission, which wants a six months extension of time, had also submitted its findings to Parliament with a view of driving its agenda.
Ms Namachanja explained that the TJRC had held discussions with Mr Kilonzo last month before forwarding its interim findings to Parliament.
She added that the TJRC had so far had and completed hearings in North eastern, Upper eastern and Mt Elgon regions of the country and was about to embark on the second leg of its hearings in Western and Nyanza provinces.
It is however yet to conduct hearings in Coast, Rift Valley, Central and Nairobi provinces.
“We have already put in our application and the requirement is that we put it in together with the interim report which we have done. We have also talked to our line minister who is supportive and he says that he is working on what to present to Parliament,” she said.
Asked when he would table the application to Parliament on behalf of TJRC, Mr Kilonzo said he had neither seen their application nor held the said discussions.
He further indicated that, although, he would support the extension sought by the TJRC, it was not his decision to make.
“When their application gets to me I will work on it but I haven’t seen anything like that. And ultimately the decision to extend their deadline lies with Parliament. I might recommend that they get six months but Parliament may decide to give them three months,” he quipped.
Ms Namachanja, who was speaking when her commission made a courtesy call to Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, added that the TJRC would require approximately Sh200 million for the new timelines.
She however said that the figure could go up if the truth commission hired more staff to carry out its works.
“What we have now is enough to take us through to November but we have been assured that when we get the extension we will be allowed to put in a request for a supplementary budget that will take us to February,” she said.
Mr Mudavadi pledged to support the TJRC’s application in Parliament when the matter came up. He argued that there was a need for the commission to conclude wholesome hearings without locking out some regions.
“It would make more sense for the country to grant the TJRC the six months extension rather than terminate the process because the law says so. You may find that five years down the line the country is under pressure to come up with another process to deal with the remaining half,” he said.
Although Prime Minister Raila Odinga had called for a one year extension of time for the TJRC, its facilitating Act (2008) only allows for a maximum six-month extension.
The commission had been given a two year shelf life to carry out its duty and conclude its work by November 2011. However leadership and financial woes delayed its operations.