18 February 2013

Kenya: Expect Our Report in May, Says TJRC

Victims of the 2008 post-election violence will not know the truth or get justice for the atrocities committed against them before the forthcoming general election.

Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Secretary Tom Chavangi told Capital FM News that the body was not mandated by law to release its report before the March 4 election, adding that Kenyans will have to wait until May 3 when they will release their final report.

Although the commission was supposed to release the report two years before the elections, it sought two extensions of time, citing financial and leadership wrangles.

"We really wonder as a commission why people say we wanted your report before the elections. We should just wait for the report whenever it will come," he said.

"Some of us don't want to stay here any longer; we want to give what belongs to Caesar then we move on with our lives," he stressed.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights had last week expressed concern over the delayed report, particularly citing victims of the Kiambaa fire tragedy.

KNCHR Acting Chairperson Anne Munyiva said the delay defeats the whole purpose of establishing the TJRC in the first place.

"Kenyans would have reached a reconciliatory mode by now and they have not. They are actually saying that they have not healed and the person who burnt their property or killed their relatives is still walking out there free," she said.

Chavangi added that the recommendations in the report would not provide instant solutions for Kenyans because some required policy changes and a willing leadership.

He maintained that Kenyans should remain patient and allow the commission to finalise its report.

"Even the election was postponed; it was supposed to be in August 2012, then it was pushed to December 2012 and now it will come in March 2013. Kenyans should not rush saying that we need the report. Our report is not pegged on elections," he argued.

For one year after the TJRC was established in 2009, it did not have funding and it also faced leadership concerns. Then in 2010, it started the public hearings which ran into 2011 forcing it to seek the first extension.

This extension took it to May 2012, when the truth commission successfully sought another extension taking it to 2013.

Chavangi also refuted reports that the commission had sent a progress report to the then Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo in July 2011.

Vice Chairperson Tecla Namachanja had at the time told journalists that the commission, which was seeking a six months extension of time, had also submitted its interim findings to Parliament.

"There is no interim report. Our Act does not allow us to produce an interim report. Ours is to produce a full report to the President," argued Chavangi.

He however assured Kenyans that they will get the report on May 3.

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