SECTIONS

MPs seek to alter TJRC report amid fears of purging bigwigs

By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU

MPs yesterday insisted that they must be allowed to alter the report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, amid fears that their motive was to delete the names of their colleagues mentioned in the report.

Majority Leader Adan Duale said the National Assembly was not simply “a conveyor belt” to just read and adopt a report without the input of the lawmakers.

“This House must sit and analyse this report,” said Duale as the House debated a change to the TJRC Act.

The lawmakers dismissed the proposal by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that even as the MPs debate the Bill “any such consideration shall not interfere with the context, text, form and substance of the report.”

“I must have an input on how reparation will be done to the people of Northern Kenya,” said the Majority Leader as he backed the TJRC (Amendment) Bill, 2013.

Duale said most of the MPs in the House were new, and should therefore be allowed to discuss the reconciliation process.

Millie Mabona (Mbita) and Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) said the “tyranny of numbers” was likely to mutilate the report of the TJRC commission and obfuscate the truth. They said the idea for MPs not to alter the report was key to ensure that all the aspects raised in the report are tackled.

“I can almost predict, that that amendment to the Bill by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee is likely to be defeated,” said Mabona.

She said the National Assembly should not set out to white-wash those mentioned in the report and the issues raised, because, if they remain unaddressed they “will just blow up”.

“If we are not careful as a country, we will go worse than the Egyptian way. Let us be bold, let us be brave, let us deal with these issues once and for all,” said Mabona.

Focus on healing

Mabona added that President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto should focus on healing the country even as they let their lawyers battle the cases of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Wandayi said the easiest route was to reject the Bill so that the House does not have any way of interfering with the TJRC report, and deleting the names of the influential people named therein.

But other MPs such as John Waiganjo (Ol Jorok), Joseph Nkaissery (Kajiado Central) and Ali Wario said legislators had a duty to give their input to the report.

“We don’t know whether the report is telling the truth, or whether it is driving justice or whether it is recommending reconciliation to this country…I heard some of my colleagues who were saying that the substance of the report may not be touched, but if it is not for the benefit of this country, the report has to be amended,” said Nkaissery.

Johanna Ng’eno (Emurua Dikirr), a member of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, said the aim of the Bill was to allow MPs to debate the report, but not to change it.

“Our intention was to allow Kenyans to ventilate on the report and not actually to remove people’s names,” said Ng’eno.

He said MPs should debate the report with the aim of getting an explanation on “some of the hitherto unexplained situations in the country”.