PM endorses TJRC extension request
Written By:Margaret Kalekye/PPS, Posted: Wed, Jul 13, 2011
|TJRC had received 30,000 statements , the highest for any truth commission worldwide|
Briefing the media after he met with the TJRC Commissioners at his office on Wednesday, the PM said the extension of the commission's tenure was necessary in order to complete its mandate.
"We shall prepare a cabinet paper recommending a one year extension to enable the Commission make up for the one lost due to the shaky start it had," PM Odinga said.
The TJRC updated the Prime Minister on the progress of its work and followed up on its written request for the extension of its mandate.
Acting Chairperson Tecla Namachanja Wanjala said the Commission was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister, a first for the Commission.
The PM recounted his experiences when northern Kenya was a no-go zone and meeting they had convened was dispersed by armed police in which people were killed and he and others had to flee to Ethiopia.
"So you report will be very useful to the country. It is important to have our history properly recorded," he said.
Ms Wanjala said the Commission had received 30,000 statements , the highest for any truth commission worldwide and 600 memoranda from communities and organisations, countrywide.
She said the Commission had carried out hearings in northern Kenya Mt, Elgon, Busia, Kakamega and were winding up the Bungoma hearings.
"Preliminary findings of the hearings in northern and upper eastern Kenya revealed that in addition to wanting the truth, residents also desire justice.
Part of the justice they seek is official acknowledgement that the atrocities they witnessed and suffered did in fact occur , followed by an official apology, "Ms Wanjala said.
Ms Wanjala who was accompanied by Commissioners Prof. Tom Ojienda, Margaret Shava and Gertrude Chawatama said poverty combined with lack of information on how or from whom to seek redress for gross human rights violations and historical injustices were among the primary drivers of historical injustices in Kenya.
" Many victims still suffer from injuries and pain occasioned by the atrocities they were subjected to. Their situation can be alleviated immediately with the support of the various arms of government; that is without waiting for the final report and recommendations.
She added that political support for the TJRC processes was imperative and vital for their successes as she requested on behalf of the Commission for an extension of its mandate to enable comprehensive execution of its mandate.
"Although the Commission has done its best to execute its mandate efficiently and expeditiously, it has faced several challenges and difficulties that have had the effect of hampering it's work and slowing down its momentum.
Despite the strategies adopted by the Commission to mitigate the effects of these challenges, it has become evident that it will not be able to finalize its work before 3rd November 2011 when its time frame expires," she ended.
The PM was accompanied by National Heritage Minister William ole Ntimama and Assistant Minister Prof. Margaret Kamal.
Mr. Ntimama urged the Commission to go beyond the 1963 limit and look at the injustices committed against the Maa people in particular that had been covered up so that the true history could be recorded.
Prof. Kamal said the healing process required that Kenyans be given a chance to speak out their pain, which was a long process and should be accorded the time required.