Glaring mistakes Truth Justice and Reconciliation team could have avoided in report

By Mwaniki Munuhe

NAIROBI, KENYA: The authors of the Truth commission’s report should have spent more time checking if they meant it to be a credible record of past atrocities.

The Standard On Saturday has catalogued several errors in the 2210-page report by the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), some of whose members have accused their colleagues of doctoring the lands section. The inaccuracies and unexplained omissions could easily have been avoided using available State records.

For instance, the TJRC report identifies Ronald Ngala as a member of President Jomo Kenyatta’s last Cabinet in 1978. Ngala died in a road accident in 1972. It also names Ngala as the Minister for Power and Communication in 1978, while omitting prominent politician and Cabinet minister Paul Ngei and Nathan Munoko (Public Works). A previous report by The Standard revealed how the troublesome Ngei was one of the Cabinet ministers Kenyatta was not prepared to lose.

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Parts doctored

In his autobiography, Beyond Expectations: From Charcoal to Gold, former Cabinet Minister Njenga Karume confirmed their odd relationship, quoting Kenyatta as saying: “I cannot allow a situation where I do not know where Ngei is or where he is sleeping. I am sure you do not know what he is capable of doing to this Government… Every time I want to go to bed, I must call him to confirm he is also in bed. If I lose him as a minister, I will not be in a position to control him that way.”

The report also makes the incorrect claim that the last Cabinet under former President Moi in 1998 did not have a single member from the Luo or Kikuyu communities. Joseph Kamotho and Uhuru Kenyatta were members of the Cabinet.

Paragraph 163 of the said report reads in part: “Moi’s last Cabinet (January 1998) when he was serving his last term, secured after divisive and acrimonious elections, was perhaps the least inclusive (of all his governments since 1979). For the first time since Independence, there was no single Kikuyu or Luo in the Cabinet... The only member from the GEMA communities was Joseph Nyagah, son of Jeremiah Nyagah from Embu.”

In coming up with Kenyatta’s last Cabinet in 1978, the commission, as stated in its report, relied largely on Hillary Ng’weno’s A Political History of Kenya and DP Aluhwalia’s Post-colonialism and the politics of Kenya (1996). Even an error that was part of the contentious land section allegedly doctored before the final report was published survived intact after the rewrite.

Media reports on paragraphs allegedly deleted or altered noted one that claimed President Jomo Kenyatta gave “his son” Muigai, who, apparently, is married to Isaiah Mathenge’s daughter, a piece of land in form of a birthday gift. TJRC oddly failed to provide a second name to the alleged Kenyatta son despite there being many Muigai’s in the family.

When The Standard on Saturday spoke to a key member of the Kenyatta family, we established that whereas there is a member of the family married to Mathenge’s daughter, he is not the former president’s son and is not mentioned by the TJRC report to be a beneficiary of any illegal land allocation.

JJRC Luo Kikuyu Ronald Ngala