Ethnic warlords find Truth Commission an easy way out

Faced with criminal charges for the deaths of 1,500 people, Kenya’s ruling elite now find the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission a convenient means of escaping jail.

Since it became obvious last year that punishment had to be meted out on those who planned, financed and executed post election violence, there has been loud disagreement over what to do with the perpetrators. The dilemma is over whether to have a locally constituted Special Tribunal or whether to just take the suspects to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga are for a local tribunal. In fact, both men want Kenyans to “forgive and forget” the whole mess – their mess.

With a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), all one has to do is confess all the gory details of their crime and get an amnesty! With such confessions, the culprits of post election violence will sanitize themselves early enough for the 2012 General Elections! How convenient!

It is unfortunate that a respected personality such as Bethwel Kiplagat can propose the TJRC as a means of solving Kenya’s woes. Doesn’t he realize that people responsible for killings and rape will literally walk away scot free? But then, Ambassador Kiplagat has vested interests in the formation of a TJRC for he is slated to become a top commissioner, if not its head. But is it possible that this hitherto respected personality could stoop so low as to demean the concept of justice just for the sake of getting a job? Well, among Kenya’s cruel and corrupt elite, greed and avarice know no limits.

Other people proposed for the TJRC include former Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi and Presbyterian Church of East Africa clergyman Timothy Njoya. The rest are: Dr Maria Nzomo, Dr Elizabeth Muli, Tom Ojienda, Timothy Njoya, Dr Joseph Aluoch, Betty Murungi, Margaret Shava, Thomas Letangule, Abubakar Zein Abubakar, Joyce Miguda Majiwa, Tecla Namachanja, Maj Gen (rtd) Ahmamed Sheikh Farah and Dr Daadab Mohammed.

This list of names consists of people who have been hobnobbing with the political class for countless decades. Many in the above list have previously gotten high profile jobs thanks to lobbying by their political allies. Clearly, Kenyans should not count on the impartiality of the TJRC and its formation will promote impunity because those who have committed crimes against humanity will never be punished.

The best way – indeed the ONLY way – of ensuring that the events of 2007 -2008 are not repeated is to prosecute those implicated in funding, planning and participating in violence. Right now, the only mode of justice that Kenyans want is for the International Criminal Court to take over all cases and issue life jail terms to the likes of William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta and their cronies, most of whom are easily identifiable.

Kenyans are looking upon International Criminal Prosecutor, Louis Moreno-Ocampo for the much needed purge of an oppresive ruling clique.

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UPDATE:

Former UN chief Kofi Annan has now sent the envelope containing the list of post poll violence perpetrators to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Read this breaking story and reactions by Kenyans >>

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