KEY TO STABILITY

Implementing TJRC report best route for Kenya

Commission was presented with a wealth of information and creative ideas for recommendations.

In Summary

• BBI and referendum push have not addressed Kenya’s problems as broadly as the TJRC.

• Theirs is about appeasing political class or seeking popularity by championing downsizing of elective seats

Even as the country's top political parties take diametrically opposed positions over the referendum push, there is need to study other reports that have proposed the way forward for a better Kenya.

This is not to say there is no merit in the Punguza Mizigo initiative by Thirdway Alliance, but the uproar it has caused points to a situation where the debate will leave the country more polarised along ethnic and regional lines than ever before.

After it comes the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, which again is faced with a hurdle of implementing its report amid waning political support for the process.

 

On the fore is a protest by a parliamentary committee, which is likely to be tasked with implementing the report, that the process is marred by secrecy.

The Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee accuses the BBI team of working in exclusivity, hence, risks facing opposition by MPs upon issuing its report in October.

There is also a feeling by a section of the political class that Deputy President William Ruto is the target of the BBI, which rightly or wrongly wants to clip his wings ahead of the 2022 General Election.

More uncertainty comes in the pending case by the Ekuru Aukot-led Thirdway Alliance challenging the legality of the advisory task force.

The TJRC, in choosing which recommendations to include for implementation, was conscious of honouring the commitment and sacrifice of the thousands of people who participated in the process, and the thousands who suffered and continue to suffer historical injustices and gross violations of human rights.

The President formed the handshake team in May 2018 under Article 10 of the Constitution. They were to tackle ethnic antagonism and competition, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, safety and security, corruption and shared prosperity.

Going forward, Farmers Party believes that it is only the implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report that can guarantee the country lasting political and economic stability.

By Gazette Notice No 8737 of 22 July 2009 and pursuant to Section 10 of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act No 6 of 2008, the government established the TJRC with the objective of promoting peace, justice, national unity, healing, reconciliation and dignity among the people of Kenya.

 

The TJRC concluded its operations and pursuant to section 48 of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act, submitted its report to the then President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The team chaired by Bethuel Kiplagat (deceased) and Tecla Namachanja as vice chairperson spent four years engaging with Kenyans, including more than a year of public hearings.

Every witness who testified before the commission was asked what he or she would recommend given the violations they had witnessed or experienced.

The commission was thus presented with a wealth of information and creative ideas for recommendations, including for individual and collective reparations.

The TJRC, in choosing which recommendations to include for implementation, was conscious of honouring the commitment and sacrifice of the thousands of people who participated in the process, and the thousands who suffered and continue to suffer historical injustices and gross violations of human rights.

It found out that there is a direct link between corruption and gross violation of human rights, noting that individuals have been killed, tortured and their rights violated because of their efforts to combat corruption.

It was also aware of the understandable limitations of a government that has a broad mandate in areas of economic development, welfare, education, and security.

Farmers Party reiterates that it’s only by implementing the commission’s recommendations on ratifying instruments that safeguard human rights; doing away with discrimination in education and guaranteeing state protection to all that Kenya will have lasting political and economic stability.

The TJRC also tackled the endemic problem of corruption, noting that it goes on despite growing public awareness of its consequences, negative and destructive effects on the economy and development.

It found out that there is a direct link between corruption and gross violation of human rights, noting that individuals have been killed, tortured and their rights violated because of their efforts to combat corruption.

The TJRC tackled the emotive issue of skewed land distribution, which has been the cause of perennial ethnic conflicts, and suggested the way forward.

Overall, both the BBI and referendum push have not addressed the country’s problems as broadly as the TJRC.

Their concerns are about appeasing the political class by creating more seats such as that of prime minister or seeking popularity by campaigning for the downsizing of elective seats. It’s time the country got a cure for its endemic problems.

Farmers Party leader