Kenya truth commission under fire

21 April 2010 by Claire Wachira

Almost two years after the birth of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), set up in the aftermath of violent presidential elections, problems continue to plague the body. 

Kenya’s disputed elections in December 2007 sparked violence which left some 1,500 people dead and 300,000 displaced. The TJRC was subsequently formed in August 2008 to investigate and recommend actions regarding abuses committed between the country’s independence in 1963 and the last elections.

In the latest controversy, TJRC commissioners last week asked chairman Bethuel Kiplagat to step down, pending allegations of past injustices. The commissioners said Kiplagat’s departure was necessary to insulate the TJRC against a credibility crisis which had culminated in vice chair Betty Murungi resigning after she had called on her boss to quit.

However, Kiplagat has denied any wrongdoing and refused to go, saying the tussle should be resolved in a lawful manner.

Kiplagat, part of former President Daniel Arap Moi’s regime, faces allegations ranging from corruption to links to the Wagalla massacre, in which Somali Muslims were killed by Kenyan troops in 1984.

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