Sunday, May 26, 2013
Kudos TJRC but, can we see actions?
By Joseph Lister Nyaringo USA How can one be trusted to dispense or build avenues for justice in a society when they are accused of violating the same justice? This critical question lingers in the minds of many Kenyans following last week’s release of the Truth and Justice Reconciliation Commission’s Report (TJRC), led by former Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat. Redressing old wounds require collective and individual sacrifices. It entails forgiveness, acknowledging wrongs, and payment of reparations to victims, surrendering of ill-gotten assets to victims or state, confessions by perpetrators or serving in jail. It remains to be seen how President Uhuru Kenyatta will handle the TJRC findings, which implicates him and his deputy for the Post election violence of 2008. Secondly, majority of Kenyans sees the report as authentic and a true reflection of the gross human rights violations and other historical injustices in the Country since independence. We can’t ignore a report which implicates its own chairman. TJRC report is the surest hope for Kenya for a good beginning to a better future. We expect President Uhuru to reverse the negative cycle started by his father as first President; perpetuated by former President Moi and perfected by his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki. The really task has begun for the Attorney general, Director of Public Prosecution, the legislature, Judiciary and the Executive to help heal the nation through the TJRC report. It’s perturbing to see a report implicating 400 Kenyans; including the mighty, who have contributed to various violations in our nation since independence. Going through the nitty gritty of the report, one will cringe in disgust; seeing the names of people mentioned. Whom can we trust, if those whose litany we recite are the same people who work to destroy the nation either as elected representatives or appointees? Many of them are either in the Senate, legislature or executive. Others are marked for various public appointments even when they don’t meet the integrity threshold. Tragically, others are dead while some are enjoying their loot in retirement when the really hustlers and sufferers- Kenyan tax payers are living from hand-to-mouth. What a man-eat-man society? The TJRC findings have exposed the nakedness of our nation. Since it was formed to provide Kenyans with a footage on past ills for purposes of nurturing accountability to enhance national peace and justice, it’s of cardinal importance for the government not to white-wash the commission’s recommendations if it cares about the future of Kenya. This is the biggest test for our justice and legal systems to ensure that recommendations arrived at by the TJRC are followed conclusively. Despite the fact that Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy are mentioned, they need to focus on the larger picture and apply the current wave of our democratic transformation to work on a “paradigm shift” which will address our nation’s violent past through the TJRC recommendations. Kenya is larger than their tittles. Justice is a universal right to all in any society. If our Prison jails are dominated by petty offenders like chicken thieves, Kenyans will not be comfortable to see the ‘big fish’; the really law breakers, who steal, rape, murder, incite, maim and kill being on the loose. We are perhaps the only Country in the World where people with dubious backgrounds are revered and offered public responsibilities. Our shaky justice system, propaganda, and a low grasp by citizens on civic matters like voting, has continued to dwarf our success as a nation. These vices must be critically addressed and a long lasting remedy sorted. The Kiplagat report must help us to salvage Kenya by curbing the monster of impunity, corruption, injustice, and respect for the rule of law based on the current constitution. It will be extremely tragic to let the TJRC report go down the drain. Those who have gone ballistic after their names featured in the report like former Chief Whip Norman Nyaga, and former Minister Franklin Bett should remember that the report is not intended to demonize any individual or community but act as a healing recipe for lasting justice, peace and security in our County. We can’t afford to dim the pursuit of Kenya’s prosperity. The realization of the Millennium Development Goals as well as Vision 2030, are all pegged on our capacity as a nation to curb social evils. On whether President Uhuru will act upon the TJRC recommendations to heal the nation, is a mystery since a cow cannot lead itself to a slaughter house. Its worthy for him to remember that an infected wound if not treated can be fatal.