Wednesday, December 17, 2008



By Abiya Ochola and Isaac Ongiri

Kenya on Wednesday moved closer to trying big guns in the 2007 post-election violence — in a special local tribunal.

But the threat of a date with The Hague still loomed large — Parliament must still play its part, and competing interests must not be allowed to subvert justice.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga a signed an agreement that sets the ball rolling for the implementation of a raft of the Waki Commission recommendations.

The Grand Coalition Government now faces a delicate survival test after the two principals reiterated that holders of public office and civil servants implicated would be suspended until they are cleared.

Those convicted of a criminal offence at the tribunal — expected to be in place by March next year — would be barred from ever holding public office or contesting any electoral position.

The move may cut short the careers of Cabinet ministers, MPs and senior civil servants as Kenya races against time to implement the report — a product of the National Accord.

Names of at least 10 Cabinet ministers, scores of MPs and civil servants are in a sealed envelope handed over to Chief Mediator Dr Kofi Annan.

And the ball was set rolling for far-reaching reforms in the Administration and Kenya Police — the law enforcement agencies severely implicated in an orgy of killings at the height of the post-election chaos.


In the document titled, The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation: Agreement for Implementation of the Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence, a copy of which was obtained exclusively by The Standard early yesterday, the principals listed the police reforms as including a review of all tactics, weapons and use of force.

It would also see the establishment of an independent Police Service Commission to oversee both the Kenya and Administration Police, an independent Police Conduct Authority and the creation of a modern Code of Conduct while achieving ethnic and tribal balance in the force.

The agreement — signed by PM Raila on Tuesday and President Kibaki yesterday morning — provided for the preparation of a Bill to be known as "The Statute for the Special Tribunal" to be presented for enactment by Parliament. Its mandate would be "to seek accountability against persons bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes, particularly against humanity, relating to the 2007 General Elections in Kenya."

Both principals bound themselves to rally MPs to enact the Freedom of Information Bill 2008 and take administrative measures as may be necessary to fully operationalise the Witness Protection Act 2008 and the International Crimes Act 2008.


The Grand Coalition suffered a major beating immediately Justice Philip Waki, who chaired the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), handed over his report as differing Cabinet ministers viciously tore into one another.

ODM MPs led by Cabinet ministers William Ruto and Fred Gumo had initially rubbished the Waki report terming it full of innuendos and half-truths that could plunge the country into anarchy.

The ODM Parliamentary Group and the National Executive Councl (NEC) clashed over the Waki report.

A section of PNU politicians led by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta also dismissed the report before changing tune.


Yesterday, the principals designated the Cabinet Committee on the National Accord comprising the President, the Prime Minister and eight ministers who represent the parties to the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation as the body to oversee day-to-day management and implementation of the agreement.

The signing of the agreement came hardly a day after Parliament passed a Constitutional Amendment that officially disbanded the discredited ECK, and as the 60-day Waki deadline came to an end.

Last week, a Cabinet sub-committee of the Serena mediation team met at Justice Martha Karua’s office where it put final touches to a draft Bill for the Special Tribunal.

They were Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi and Cabinet ministers Mutula Kilonzo, William Ruto, Sam Ongeri, Moses Wetangula, Sally Kosgey and James Orengo.

The draft Bill was to be tabled before the Cabinet but the move was shelved after confusion arose over the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2008 that sought to institute electoral reforms.

Parliament adjourned yesterday and would have to debate the Bill when it reopens.


Article 6 of the draft Bill states that any person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed or aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of election crimes shall be held to account.

The official position of any accused person shall not relieve such a person of criminal responsibility, while senior public servants will face the tribunal for offences committed by subordinates.

Security agencies have been accused of rape and use of excessive force that led to scores of deaths.

But Kibaki and Raila face an uphill task in the implementation of the Waki Report after Parliament questioned the mandate of the Serena team, arguing that it had become too powerful and was usurping the role of the President and the PM.

Mutula had warned that the Government would not meet the deadline set in the Waki Report.