, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 28 – The National Assembly has discussed a Bill that seeks to give MPs powers to debate and alter the report prepared by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).
Leader of the Majority Coalition Aden Duale explained that the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (Amendment) Bill seeks to clear the way for MPs to have an input on the final report.
“Without this Bill then nobody even this House has an opportunity to even change a comma,” Duale said.
The Bill was however opposed by Acting Leader of the Minority Peter Kaluma who said legislators should not redo a job done by the TJRC.
“We have proposed, as the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, that our consideration of this report should not allow the National Assembly to alter the content, the form and subject of the report so that we do not use the liberty to debate and take over the work of the TJRC and begin to re-write the report,” he said.
Before its dissolution, TJRC had opposed plans to grant MPs powers to make any changes to the report. The Commission has maintained that Parliament should only be the custodian of the report to ensure the recommendations are fully implemented.
Ugunja MP Wandai Opiyo, Mbita’s Millie Odhiambo and Seme MP James Nyikal opposed the Bill saying it would undermine the work of TJRC which was set up following the 2008 post election violence and a lot of money has been spent by the Commission in collecting views across the country.
“This Bill’s only intention is to create a convenient avenue to delete some of the names mentioned in this report,” Opiyo said.
Nyikal called on his fellow legislators to approach debate on the report without taking political interests.
“This Parliament made decisions that we are still struggling with, there was the famous – don’t be vague, say Hague- and today as a country we have not reconciled to that decision that was made in Parliament,” Nyikal continued; “because in the Tenth Parliament they were driven by emotions, partisanship and parochialism.”
“I prefer the way South Africa went, they were very open, those who were wrong came forward and acknowledged their wrong and they we were forgiven. Then the country moved forward,” Odhiambo said. “But not this infamous phrase from the media; how do you tell people who are aggrieved to accept and move on?”
Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaiserry and his Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto who are among former MPs and provincial commissioners, senior military and senior police officers implicated by the TJRC in land grabbing and torture said the amendment will allow them to clear their names.
“This amendment will give me the opportunity to clear my name.” said Nkaiserry, who retired from the military to go into politics after attaining the rank of a Major- General.
“How can you have a Major operating an Army on his own? I could not believe that they could write a very useless report,” he said as he responded to allegations contained in the TJRC report that as a Major in the Kenya Army, he oversaw extra-judicial killings.
“I don’t understand how my name also appeared in the report because I was just a unionist championing the rights of teachers but now I am being mentioned that I was evicting people and doing this other things,” Moroto stated.
The report which was handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta in June, recommended prosecution of hundreds of senior government officials and politicians for their involvement in the 2007-08 PEV.
Other historical injustices to be punished are: detention without trial, ethnic clashes, land grabbing and extra judicial killings.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are among those adversely mentioned in the report. The two are facing charges of crimes against humanity before ICC at The Hague over the post-election violence.
The report also recommends that the Director of Public Prosecutions investigates the people implicated in the violence. According to the report, there is ample evidence to sustain prosecution.
Former MPs and provincial commissioners, senior military and senior police officers are some of those implicated in land grabbing and torture.