Monday, October 13, 2008



October 13, 2008

By Times Team

POLITICIANS, security agents and the media top the list of those up for blame for the massive convulsions and violence which rocked Kenya, following the flawed 2007 general elections.

These are the highlights made by the Waki Commission whose report is to be presented to President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga tentatively tomorrow or Wednesday.

The report prioritizes the immediate establishment of the Truth and Justice Commission at which those fingered will have opportunity to make confessions and subsequently seek forgiveness. Individuals adversely mentioned will be held accountable for their actions if they fail to voluntary take the step to confess any misdeeds, recommends the report.

The report further echoes the findings of Johann Kriegler commission and recommends the disbandment of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) which it accuses of unprofessional and unethical handling of the closely contested 2007 presidential election.

The announcement of winner of the presidential contest drove post independence Kenya to her darkest moment with 1,200 people being killed and 350,000 others displaced. The report says the violence would have been averted had the police and the other government security agents taken the necessary steps to forestall the mayhem for they had been forewarned.

.According to a source privy to the contents of the report, the chaos was spontaneous in many places across the country while in some cases, they were premeditated.

Members of the Commission of Inquiry on Post-election Violence (CIPEV) headed by Mr Justice Philip Waki, however, remained holed up Mombasa in what our source described as preventive measure against possible leakage. .

"As earlier promised, the report will be handed to President Kibaki even before the October 15 deadline," said the source. "Now that the Prime Minister is back this dateline will be tenable unless genuine concerns on further delay come up."

The report says that despite relevant government agencies being warned of possible violence in an event of a closely contested election, not enough adequate steps were taken to avert the outbreak of violence. However, the commission is said to have been divided on whether the names of those who had fuelled the violence or were adversely mentioned should be publicized.

During submissions to the commission, National Intelligence Security Service (NSIS) Director General Micheal Gichangi intimated that chaos had been anticipated since their assessment pointed to a closely contested poll.

The source said the state agencies and senior government officials were aware of the consequences of a close contest between PNU’s Mwai Kibaki and ODM’s Raila Odinga but nothing was done to forestall the ensuing chaos.

On the ECK, the report says the electoral body acted "unprofessionally and in a suspicious manner" singling out the hurried swearing in of President Kibaki at State House in the evening of December 30. This scenario, the source said, fueled violence and like the Kriegler report, the commission wants a new look ECK with more powers to deal with politicians who engage in smear campaign, fan or instigate violence.

The media did not escape blame in the report, especially the FM vernacular stations which are accused for fanning tribal animosity. The report thus proposes stringent measures to be undertaken to ensure that the media is more responsible in its reporting.

Even as the commission finalizes it report, over 80,000 people who were affected by post-election violence are still languishing in camps around the country while the Red Cross estimates that at least 220,000 others were still living in satellite camps.

Chief mediator in the Kenyan crisis former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had singled out the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons as the foremost outstanding issue to be resolved when he visited the country recently.

TThe focus will now shift from Kriegler report that analyzed the flawed electoral process, which was released a fortnight ago to the Waki Commission.

A source told us the report recommends measures to prevent a repeat of the violence the country expressed after the 2007 elections after careful consideration of the evidence presented to it. However, our source declined to comment on whether anybody had been adversely mentioned regarding the chaos, saying instead that there was insufficient time for such analysis. We are further told that the report also amplifies sections of the findings of the Akiwumi Commission report which had investigated tribal clashes that rocked parts of the country prior to 1997 elections and at the heart of which were land and other historical injustices and misgivings.

The Government launched the Operation Rudi Nyumbani resettlement programme in May this year, but it has faced incessant criticism with its success frequently questioned. Waki Commission’s mandate included investigating facts and circumstances related to post-election violence, actions or omissions of state security agencies and to make recommendations to prevent a repeat of the mayhem witnessed after the December 27 polls.

The report is further expected to recommend prosecution of those responsible for violence, how impunity can be eradicated and promotion of measures for national reconciliation besides proposing on other legal, political, administrative measures to address the issues of violence.

Where appropriate, it was to make recommendations on the yet-to-be-formed Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission. During its sittings, Justice Waki asked Kenyans to identify perpetrators of post-election violence so that appropriate action could be recommended.

He said then that the success of the inquiry depended on information from the public. Last Friday, the commission was upbeat that it would deliver a report within the stipulated time frame. The team had until October 15 to deliver its report. Our source dismissed claims that part of the commission report was already in circulation.