Tuesday, October 21, 2008



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

By Standard Team

Will the Waki and Kriegler reports be implemented in full?
That was the question on the minds of Kenyans after President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Kenyatta Day speeches.

Kibaki and Raila jointly reaffirmed their commitment to implement the recommendations of the reports. However, the two leaders were not specific over the manner of the implementation of the far-reaching and radical proposals put forth by Justice Philip Waki who headed the Commission investigating Post-Election Violence.

Speaking at Monday’s celebrations to mark the 45th Kenyatta Day, they steered clear of the proposal to form a special tribunal to try the planners, financiers and perpetrators of the violence.

President Kibaki, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Prime Minister Raila Odinga at Monday’s Kenyatta Day celebrations, Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi. They avoided mentioning Waki proposal to form special tribunal for post-poll violence.

The President, PM and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka instead called for forgiveness, restitution and reconciliation.

This casts the full implementation of the Kriegler and Waki reports into doubt and points to the thin line the Government will have to tread in implementing the recommendations, and at the same time keep the country united.

The Cabinet, in its next meeting, will discuss the Waki report. After the report was released on Thursday, most leaders said the recommendations should be implemented in full.

But others have called for caution, saying the recommendations have the potential of pushing the country further into acrimony.

Speaking at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, President Kibaki said: "I’m aware that many Kenyans desire justice for past injustices. But let us keep in mind that although the truth will set us free, justice must be tempered with forgiveness for reconciliation to take root."

Hours earlier, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whom Justice Waki gave the 26 suspects for prosecution on Friday, told BBC’s African Network programme, that forgiveness would entrench impunity.

"It’s important that the Government acts on it. The victims demand justice too," Mr Annan said. "The tendency to protect the perpetrators for the sake of peace, ‘forgive and let’s move on,’ doesn’t help society. Impunity should not be allowed."

The list of suspects is said to include members of Cabinet, MPs and prominent businessmen.

Waki’s report says in case the special tribunal is sabotaged, the suspects be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Speaking at Kerugoya Stadium during yesterday’s celebrations, Justice Minister Martha Karua said political leaders have no option but to implement the report.

President Kibaki said the findings "will be used to build a stable and cohesive and integrated society whose institutions protect freedom and liberty of every citizen wherever they chose to live or work."

He emphasised: "The Government will use the recommendations from the Kriegler Commission to strengthen our electoral system and those from Waki Commission to build a stable cohesive and integrated society."

Last week, the Cabinet adopted the Kriegler report and constituted a sub-committee headed by Kibaki and Raila to steer the implementation action plan by end of the month.

"Let us prepare as a nation to consider restitution and forgiveness as complementing truth and justice to give our nation a fresh start," the Head of State said.

He added: "The findings of Waki and Kriegler will be reflected in the new constitution. I believe our new constitution is within reach."

Raila recounted the problems that beset the country in January and February, but said the Kriegler and Waki reports had revealed the truth.

Said Raila; "The truth has been told. Let us use the reports to unite the country. I appeal to politicians to preach peace and unity and campaign against tribal divisions."

He went on: "It is pitiable that after 45 years of self rule, we have not achieved the dreams of the founding fathers of this nation.

The PM said joblessness, poverty, inflation and disease remained widespread and the Grand Coalition Government must address the challenges.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said: "More than 45 years after independence, we should not shed any blood. We will not accept any gangs or people to spill Kenyans blood."

He went on: "The truth has been told. In the Rift Valley, leaders have started preaching peace and reconciliation and this should be replicated across Kenya."

Leading Kenyans in celebrating Kenyatta Day — an annual fete in honour of the heroes and heroines who fought for independence — Kibaki and Raila spoke of the need for a new constitution.

In apparent reference to the Electoral Commission of Kenya and the police force, which were recommended for overhaul, the President said: "We must never adopt the practice of tearing down institutions without due regard to what will fill the vacuum they leave."

Kibaki’s parting shot was a rallying call to peace: "I urge you all to seize this moment and come together by fostering peace. Let us work together to give our children and the youth a chance to have a better, peaceful and prosperous future."