News 2008


1,020 killed in chaos, team told


Daily Nation

Friday, July 25 2008

In Summary

- 1,020 people killed in the post-election violence.
- Maj-Gen Hussein Ali indicated that 616 people were killed.
- Still 65 bodies awaiting autopsy across the country

The Ministry of Medical Services on Friday told the Waki Commission of Inquiry that 1,020 people were killed in the post-election violence.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Hezron Nyangito said they arrived at the figure from what was supplied by various medical officers and provincial bosses across the country.

The figure is about twice those released by the police.

While testifying before the commission a fortnight ago, police commissioner Maj-Gen Hussein Ali indicated that 616 people were killed.

Dr Nyangito said the figure could be higher than what he gave on Friday since their data did not include those who may have died at private hospitals and at home.

“Because of logistical problems, we could not get data of those who may have died at home or sought treatment at dispensaries and health centres in the affected areas,” he said.

The PS, however, said his figure could be more accurate than those given by the police and other civil society groups because it could be proved.

Some civil society groups, he claimed, even exaggerated the figures of the dead to make money from donors.

Dr Nyangito told the commission that out of the 1,020, postmortems had been performed on 800 bodies at various morgues, including the City Mortuary.

Sharp reaction

The PS said there were still 65 bodies awaiting autopsy across the country, although some were collected by relatives before causes of their deaths were identified.

However, the new figures drew a sharp reaction from the commission, with the chairman, Mr Justice Phillip Waki, wondering whose data they should rely on in compiling their findings.

“We are here on a fact-finding exercise yet in respect of figures for those who died during the post-election violence, we have been receiving all manner of data from people who are expected to have correct ones. This does not leave us wiser,” Justice Waki remarked. He directed Dr Nyangito to immediately constitute a team in his ministry to compile comprehensive data on the post-election victims, including names of the dead and where they died.

While accepting to undertake the task, Dr Nyagito said his figures could be supported by the Ministry of Special Programmes, which coordinated the national disaster humanitarian committee.

His request to be given three weeks for the work was turned down by Justice Waki, who said the commission did not have enough time as it was left with only a month to finalise its task.

“We must receive that information as quickly as possible, even if it is during our sittings outside Nairobi,” he said.