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TJRC: Mwiraria mean with truth

By | June 8th 2011

By Ally Jamah

Former Finance Minister David Mwiraria was accused of "selective amnesia" after he failed to give details of the February 1984 Wagalla Massacre.

The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) expressed frustration yesterday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre when Mwiraria said he didn’t recall many incidents surrounding the massacre.

"Your testimony appears to be a litany of selective amnesia. We wonder how much of that is really true," said Tom Ojienda after Mwiraria had gone through intensive questioning.

Former Finance Minister David Mwiraria arrives to testify at the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission at KICC on Tuesday. Photo: Stafford Ondego/Standard

TJRC’s CEO Patricia Nyaundi tried to jog Mwiraria’s memory by quoting documents supposed to be familiar to the former Minister, but without much success.

Mwiraria defended himself saying his mind only remembers things that captured his interest during the visit and had forgotten the rest.

"That is how my mind works. I can see many things in a particular day but only remember two that struck my mind. I am not hiding anything," he said

Mwiraria was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and was part of the Kenya Intelligence Committee (KIC) delegation that visited Wajir a few days before the massacre.

The former Minister delivered a short, one-page statement in response to the summons that cited him as a "potential witness."

Well-cultivated farms

He also insisted that he didn’t recall being present in a KIC meeting at the District Commissioner’s office in Wajir, but admitted that he was part of the delegation whose itinerary was to visit Garissa, Wajir and Mandera Districts.

"The only two things I can remember about the trip were the well-cultivated farms along River Dawa in Mandera and the houses constructed on loose sand in Liboi in Garissa. I found the two things quite interesting," he said.

Mwiraria insisted that he only heard about the massacre several days after returning to Nairobi, adding that trip to North Eastern Province (NEP) was not about security but to identify development requirements in the region. Also in the witness stand yesterday was Brigadier (rtd) Philip Chebet, who accompanied KIC throughout the three-day visit to NEP in February 1984 and was in-charge of soldiers in Garissa District.

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