News 2008


Poll chaos: Killers to face law

Daily Nation

Story by NATION Team

10. March 2008

The days of people who killed others and destroyed property during the post-election violence are numbered, Attorney General Amos Wako has warned.

“Kenyans feel that the culture of impunity is going on. But let me assure you that we must now ensure that this culture is dealt with once and for all,” he told the annual Law Society of Kenya dinner at the weekend.

Mr Wako said he had approved several cases for prosecution of individuals involved in the election related violence.

Over 1,200 people were killed when violence erupted in the wake of the disputed presidential election results last December. Another 350,000 others were displaced and hundreds of houses burnt in the month-long violence.

Conduct of ECK

Last week, MPs from the Rift Valley had proposed that those behind the violence be pardoned after President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing agreement.

Investigations will be extended into the conduct of Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) officials whose actions or inactions may have sparked the violence. Several institutions had written to the AG asking him to investigate the ECK but he said priority will be on prosecuting those behind the killings and destruction of property.

The US ambassador to Kenya, Mr Michael Ranneberger, who was the chief Guest at the dinner, said Kenya had an opportunity to emerge with stronger democratic institutions, a more cohesive society and a vibrant economy.

On the implementation of the Bills he published last week to pave way for the power-sharing agreement between President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga, Mr Wako said their fate would be known Tuesday when Parliament reconvenes. “My hope is that they are debated as quickly as possible so that we have the coalition government and we move forward,” he said.

He dispelled fears that the coalition would kill multi-party politics. Instead, he said, the coalition will restore peace without which multi-party democracy cannot survive.

In a related development, House Speaker Kenneth Marende Sunday asked displaced families to return to their homes as the Government was determined to restore security.

Mr Marende said the victims should have faith in the Government which did not want to see some Kenyans suffering in camps.

The Speaker said that the Government will assist those whose properties were burnt to rebuild them.

“We should continue coexisting peacefully,” he told journalists outside the Nakuru Christian Centre after attending a church service. He said every Kenyan has a right to own property and live in any part of the country without fear.

Meanwhile, NGO leaders have asked the Government to vet internally displaced persons to establish the bona fide ones before embarking on the proposed resettlement programme.

The coordinator of the Internally Displaced Persons Network, Mr Kepha Magenyi also asked the Government to vet NGOs seeking to participate in the resettlement programme as some were merely interested in making money.

Healing process

Speaking in Nakuru Sunday, Mr Magenyi said some organisations wrote beautiful proposals on how they planned to assist the victims but the money never reached the intended beneficiaries.

He said that giving the victims seeds and tents to return to their farms where houses were burnt and hundreds of people killed would not succeed as no healing process had taken place.

“Many groups want to do it alone instead of working closely with others and the Government. The reason is obvious, they are only interested in getting a share of the money coming from the US, the UNDP, UNHCR, the Government of Kenya and other donors,” he said.