2 January 2013

Kenya: TJRC May Seek Fourth Extension of Its Term

DESPITE getting its third extension early last month, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission may have to seek a fourth extension come the May 3 deadline.

If the reasons given for the third extension are anything to go by, the commission cannot possibly complete its work before the due date.

A memo justifying the extension obtained by the Star says the commission needs to give 600 adversely mentioned persons an opportunity to respond.

Before seeking the extension, the commission had only accorded 50 people an opportunity to be heard. "Reports of previous commissions of inquiry were impeached for failure to accord right of reply to adversely mentioned persons. There is need to accord all AMPs opportunity in order to produce unimpeachable report," it said.

Between now and May 3rd, there are approximately 120 days. If weekends and holidays (Easter and Labour Day) subtracted, there remains about 80 days.

If they accord all the 600 adversely mentioned persons time to appear, they may have to take 8 persons per day. This is before factoring the disruptions likely to be occasioned by the March 4 election campaigns.

It is before factoring other pending items in the commission's work like amnesty hearings, reparation hearings, reconciliation forums and actual report writing.

Processing of amnesty applications is quite a process as it entails advertisement for the offer and eventual consideration.

This is the same case for application for reparation in terms of compensation, memoralization and restitution among others.

With loss of goodwill among the people, donor institutions and parliament, the commission may also not have the capacity to pull all these through. Technical staff have left as well as a number of commissioners.

In its justification brief, the commission insisted that its mandate remains too broad for the extensions it has been seeking. The mandate covers a period of 45 years but also includes pre-1963 and post 2008 periods.

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