Thursday, June 21, 2012

High hopes on Judge Kalpana Rawal team

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
It’s encouraging that the five-member team led by Judge Kalpana Rawal which is tasked to unravel the truth surrounding the demise of honourables George Saitoti and Orwa Ojodeh, and four police officers through a helicopter crash has earned a lot of support from government organs and the Kenyan public.
Unlike in the past when controversy littered public inquests before and after their findings, there is goodwill from the executive, judiciary and the legislator.
Its however discouraging that the commission was not provided with a timeline to complete its task, and this is likely to be a toll on the exchequer hence a taxpayer burden.
Despite that, Kenyans and families of the departed souls want a solid truth on what happened, how it happened and why. This time round, we don’t want to see dirty washed under the carpet to cover inequity after the findings.
It’s also a great show of leadership and solidarity that The Attorney General, Chief Justice the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Transport, have unequivocally assured the Kenyan people of the government’s commitment to establish the truth following the helicopter crash.
The only skepticism Kenyans have is how the past and present governments treated findings of various commissions and inquests, which are often not made public especially when it’s suspected to touch key people in government.
We hope the truth will not be washed under the carpet like in1975 after the late Elijah Mwangale’s Parliamentary probe team implicated the government for the murder of Nyandarua North MP Josiah Mwangi Kariuki.
Expectations from Kenyans are very high. Being the first commission of inquiry for a major national tragedy under the new constitution with a reformist Chief Justice, a new Attorney general and Director of public prosecution who took office after thorough vetting, we believe all these will help to ensure that justice is pursued by length and breadth. It’s also a great stride in the fight against impunity.
The passion with which the government has in discovering the circumstances, which led to the helicopter crash, should be a precursor to backtrack unresolved truths on past tragedies like the demise of the late Robert Ouko, Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulo, JM Kariuki, Bishop Alexandar Muge, and Father John Caesar and Arwings Kodhek amongst others.
This is the surest way to put our country on a better justice footing in the new dispensation. It will also help the affected families to heal following the mysteriously departure of their loved one, build harmony, peace and reconciliation in the Country.
Three things give credence to any commission of inquiry or public inquest. First, the credibility of those tasked to carry out the commission’s mandate, of which, I personally don’t have any doubt or pessimism on Judge Rawal and her team.
Secondly, the thoroughness and truthfulness of its findings and finally, if the findings will pave the way for restitution to ensure justice for the aggrieved parties.
After all, apprehending any suspects in case of a criminal intent over the tragedy will be something Kenyans will be looking forward to after Judge Rawal’s team is done with the findings.
Finally, for purposes of ensuring confidentiality and information gathering, a call hotline and postal box should be established in order for Kenyans to volunteer useful information to help with the investigation.
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