The likelihood of the Justice Philip Waki Report on the 2007-08 post-election violence being used in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Deputy President Wiliam Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang has sent jitters among political leaders in Rift Valley, who fear their man could be locked out of the 2017 elections.
Consequently, the leaders are now toying with the idea of initiating a series of actions that could see the controversial report debated in Parliament and subsequently amended.
Senators and MPs have indicated they want legislators to revisit and discuss the report as well as summon Justice Philip Waki to explain how he came up with the report.
Speaking separately, Kericho Senator Charles Keter and his Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet colleagues Stephen Sang and Kipchumba Murkomen claimed the report was full of falsehoods, is bogus and should not be used in a court of law.
“It is not even worth calling a report. It is just hearsay. I think Waki was in a hurry to come up with the report and opportunists took advantage to spread rumours,” said Keter.
The Nandi senator said they want to scrutinise the report to establish whether it warrants to be used in a court of law. “As legislators, we want to revisit and discuss the report and amend it because we know the post-election violence was spontaneous and if possible, summon the Waki commission members including Justice Waki himself to testify before us and tell us how they came about it,” said Sang.
Agreeing with Sang’s sentiments, Murkomen said they would rally both the National Assembly and the Senate to discuss and amend the report to represent the voices of all Kenyans, especially those who were affected by the violence.
Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui said already, some witnesses at the court had claimed they were coached and therefore the report, which was the basis of the summons by ICC to the accused, lacked credibility. “Investigations by Waki were shoddy because they were conducted by people who had selfish interests led by the civil society and funded by donors. The report should be made public,” said Kiptanui.
While poking holes in the report, Sang said it would be a mistake for ICC to use the report because it was full of rumours and hearsay. “We are asking ICC to handle the Kenyan case with seriousness it deserves because we need our Deputy President back at home,” stated Sang.
He said the ICC ought to be careful with the evidence they continue to pick just as they ought to have been careful with its witnesses.
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Speaking at AIC Church in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County while presiding over a funds drive, Sang said the Waki Report was drafted in a boardroom without enlisting the views of all those adversely mentioned.
“The Waki Report was established on a wrong foundation since we all know that the 2007 post-election violence was spontaneous. The commission did not give a fair hearing to those who were mentioned,” said Murkomen who spoke separately to The Standard.
“The information about the list of those who were in the Waki Report is in doubt, and it does not help the ICC because the prosecutor did not conduct an independent probe into the violence,” he said.
Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen wondered why the report was admitted by ICC at this point in time and said the move was suspect.
“We want the original report then we can dissect its contents. We need to look at it afresh and weigh its admissibility. We will not take it lightly,” said Kangogo.
However, Chairperson of the Department of Communication Studies in the University of Eldoret Phillip Chebunet said the political debate in the region is not so much about the Waki Report and its impact on the ongoing ICC case against Ruto and Sang, but a discourse by politicians who were trying to keep busy.
“The politicians are just setting the agenda for what people can discuss. It is not about the case, I also do not think that the report will have any impact on the 2017 elections because some of those in office had been mentioned in the report before 2013,” said Chebunet.
But he said that the admission of the report by the ICC judges had raised the profile of the report as it could be admitted elsewhere. “That might be what informed the move to want to debate and amend it in Parliament,” said Chebunet.
He said the legislators’ call on CORD leader Raila Odinga to testify before ICC seemed to be a sincere move because the former Prime Minister would most likely add value to Ruto and Sang’s defence.