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MPs threaten to shoot down Kenya-UK military training pact over killing

NATIONAL
By Moses Nyamori | November 3rd 2021

Lion's Court Lodges and Conference Center entrance in Nanyuki within Laikipia County where the body of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru who was allegedly killed by a British Army officer was discovered on March 31, 2012. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

MPs have threatened to shoot down Kenya-British military agreement unless suspects in the killing of Agnes Wanjiru are surrendered and prosecuted under the Kenyan law.

Rejecting the agreement implies that the UK forces will have to leave their Nanyuki base.

The National Assembly Defence and Foreign Relations committee yesterday told Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa that the House could turn hostile and reject the agreement in protest against the handling of the Agnes Wanjiru death.

Existing agreement lapsed and the National Assembly is required to renew it for five years. According to the agreement, visiting forces are subject to the laws of the host country.

Parliamentary legal team in a brief to the Committee on Criminal Jurisdiction on the previous treaty states that “visiting forces shall be subject to abide by and respect the Constitution, laws and regulations of the host nation at all times.”

Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi said that the House will only consider the agreement after the suspects are brought to book.

“We have this draft agreement between Kenya and UK. We have a long-standing relation with the UK. We are looking at an agreement that has lapsed and requires renewal. Unfortunately when we are about to do the renewal this subject of Agnes Wanjiru comes up,” said Abdullahi.

“Until we have concrete evidence to suggest that the Kenyan government is looking into this matter and the culprit will be brought to book under the Kenyan justice system, only then we will we append our signature on the defense cooperation pact."

Saku MP Raso Dido – the session chair – said although the presence of the forces has a huge economic benefit to Kenya, there was need for assurance in dealing with the matter, before the agreement is submitted to the House for ratification.

“What we are raising with you is that let this MoU not trigger such cases. The onus is on them if they are ready to accept the terms of this MoU,” said Dido.

“This MoU has been violated. The British, their main base is in Nanyuki, but what happens if the people decide to demonstrate every day; it will become a risk to both them and the people there.”

Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo said that even those involved in the alleged cover up of the killing have to be brought to book.

“I don’t think anyone wants assurance that justice will be done, everyone wants to see justice served. It has been nine years of assurance and people want to see justice done. Then you (CS Wamalwa) tell us you are in a hurry we ratify the defense cooperation agreement yet you are not in a hurry to prosecute the culpable criminals,” said Kilonzo.

“There must have been two parties in the cover-up. Must you act when there is public pressure through the media? We don’t need any assurances; we need to see people prosecuted for murder.”  

Wamalwa assured the committee that British authorities have promised to cooperate in the investigations. “British government are ready and willing to cooperate with Kenya to ensure that the culprits are investigated and brought to book,” he said. 

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