Tuesday, October 21, 2008

KENYA CABINET DIFFERS SHARPLY OVER WAKI TEAM REPORT

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KENYA TIMES
October 21, 2008
By Edwin Mutai

PRESIDENT Mwai Kibaki’s Kenyatta Day message to Kenyans to consider restitution and forgiveness for the perpetrators of post-election violence elicited mixed reactions from leaders across the political divide.

Two cabinet ministers differed with the President saying the perpetrators of the violence should be prosecuted in line with the recommendations of the Waki report.

Lands minister James Orengo warned against attempts to scuttle the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into post-election Violence and maintained that those implicated should face prosecution. Orengo’s sentiments were echoed by his Justice counterpart Martha Karua who called for immediate implementation of the Waki report to end the culture of impunity which continues to haunt the country.

Addressing the Press at Nyayo Stadium after the Kenyatta Day celebrations yesterday, ministers Najib Balala, Kiraitu Murungi and Yusuf Haji called for utmost care in handling the Waki report to save the country from sliding back to anarchy.

"We are dealing with a very delicate matter and as you know the country is still in a state of cease fire. We must be very careful in the manner we implement the report. We can implement the same an latter tear apart communities. We must be very responsible in balancing issues of justice and political stability in Kenya," Kiraitu said.

Elsewhere, two legislators from North Eastern Province have called for caution and sobriety in implementing the recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence as it was likely to re-ignite ethnic clashes.

Livestock Development Assistant Minister Aden Barre Dualle and Nominated MP Sophia Abdi Noor said that the prosecution of leaders who are said to have masterminded the mayhem would jeopardise the healing process and scuttle the reconciliation initiated by the national accord. And Kenyans in Diaspora added their voice to the debate by challenging the government to implement the Waki report in order to end the culture of impunity.

Kenya Movement for Democracy and Justice (KMDJ) hailed the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) and called for speedy implementation of the report to avert recurrence of violence. KMDJ’s sentiments were echoed by a local lobby group, Kikuyu for Change Movement which said the Waki and Kriegler reports have the capacity to reconcile the country.

In statements released to the press yesterday, the organisations said both the Waki and Kriegler reports have the capacity to reform the country’s institutions to avert recurrence of violence. At the same time, they challenged the government to achieve its pledge of delivering the new constitution within one year as promised.