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Kenya: Call for Accountability
Nov 11, 2008 (081111)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"We are witnessing a situation where the politicians in government
are satisfied that they are now sharing power and that it is
business as usual. It is disturbing that they prefer to push all
issues that contributed to the crisis under the carpet ... We as
Kenyan civil society are certain that the crisis we witnessed is
not over. These same politicians will certainly break this country
if they go unpunished. We demand the full implementation of the
Waki recommendations and immediate disbandment of the Electoral
Commission of Kenya." - Kenyans for Peace through Truth and Justice
Millions in Africa and around the world, as well as in the United
States, celebrated the election of Barack Obama as a sign of hope
for the future. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared November 6 a
public holiday, and the Tanzanian parliament passed a special
resolution congratulating the U.S. president elect.
[If you have not already overdosed on news coverage of this, see,
for example, a google search for "Obama celebration Africa" at
http://tinyurl.com/59rcak, or check out AllAfrica's coverage at
http://allafrica.com/usafrica, including a photoessay on
"Obamamania in Western Kenya."]
Notably, it was Obama's example rather than the prospects of
changed U.S. foreign policy or expected benefits for Africa that
was stressed by a large number of African commentaries. African
leaders, commentators stressed, should follow the example of
electoral transparency and inspiration rather than clinging to
power and privilege. "True democracy requires tolerance and the
ability to give in with grace when we lose a political contest,"
editorialized Nairobi's Daily Nation.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains statement by Kenyan civil
society and Kenyan Catholic bishops calling for Kenya's political
leaders to be accountable on their own country's political crisis.
For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Kenya, and links to
additional resources, including recent books, visit
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++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
Kenyans for Peace through Truth and Justice urges full
implementation of Waki Report
Nairobi, October 30, 2008
We note the rare unity of the political class in dismissing the
report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence
as inadequate and flawed. We also note the dismissive attitude of
the police force towards the findings of the investigation, as well
as the faultfinding by the Attorney General. The commission chaired
by Appeal Court Judge Philip Waki travelled around the country to
visit the theatres of the violence, hear oral evidence on oath from
156 witnesses and take sworn (written) testimony from 144 people
over four months.
This is what the commission found:
- The violence was initially a spontaneous reaction to the
elections results and initially targeted government institutions,
such as was the case in Nyanza. The initial intention was not to
kill but to expel people and destroy property.
- After that, the violence took on a more organised form.
Politicians and businesspeople organised and planned attacks. The
evidence of this was in the warnings people received, the numbers
of attackers mobilised and moved, the weapons acquired and the
secrecy involved in targeting people of given ethnic groups.
- The failure by the police to act on intelligence, to be
impartial and professional in their work, as well as to respond
appropriately only made matters worse. Police used excessive force.
There was a discernible breakdown in the chain of command.
The violence claimed 1,133 lives. This contradicts the official
police figure of 616.
Gunshots were the most frequent cause of death, accounting for
nearly four in every 10 deaths (35.7 per cent of total deaths).
Police were found to be responsible for all deaths by gunshot. The
commission also found that police response was uneven, even where
faced with similar situations. In Nyanza and Western provinces, for
example, police response was more brutal and the use of force,
The highest number of deaths by ethnicity are recorded as Luo
(278); Gikuyu (268); Kalenjin (158) and Luhya (163).
b. Rape and sexual violence
- Individual and gang rapes, sometimes using objects, were
committed in front of families. Men as well as women were targeted
based on their ethnicity and political affiliation. Genital
mutilation, including castration and forced male circumcision, were
- The police told the commission that there were no incidents
reported of sexual or gender-based violence. General Service Unit,
regular and administration police were however found to have taken
part in the rapes (including gang rape) and obstructed reporting
c. Official response
- The Government did nothing to ease the tensions before the
elections. It posted 1,600 Administration Police officers to Nyanza
because, in the testimony of the Head of the Public Service to the
Commission, it was hostile territory.
- The Commissioner of Police ordered the release of Chinkororo and
SunguSungu gangs involved in violence before the elections. Police
officers were posted to receive and relay election results in
orders clearly outside their call of duty.
- The National Security Intelligence Service acted suspiciously
outside its mandate by seeking 50 accreditations for election
observers and conducting opinion polls in order to provide
information to the Head of Public Service.
- The police in North Rift and the provincial administration were
unprepared for the violence, raising questions about their
coordination with intelligence services. Although the commission
noted individual acts of personal courage among police officers in
saving lives, the police in North Rift participated in the
violence, or were just divided and overwhelmed.
- The Cabinet security committee never met throughout the election
period and after, and there were no joint preparations for what
would possibly arise. There were no formal meetings at the national
level, raising questions about who was in charge and who was in
control of the security apparatus. Variations of this misnomer
would be apparent at the provincial level.
- The police ban on assembly and the ban on live broadcasting
worsened the security situation in the country. Further
investigations into police use of force and rape as well as records
on the use of ammunition and supplies require independent
The Attorney General is culpable for promoting impunity. He has
been in charge of prosecutions for the entire time that the
parliamentary select committee chaired by Kennedy Kiliku and the
Judicial Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice Akilano Akiwumi
made recommendations about further investigations and prosecutions
for ethnic-based violence. The AG's role in failing to follow up on
the Kiliku and Akiwumi reports is stark. For their part, the police
claimed they had not even read the reports.
The political class is distorting the Waki Report to appear as if
it only recommends their own punishment. Fortunately, it does more
than that. Kenya is much bigger than the 10 or so people on the
list of perpetrators that the commission has handed to the Panel of
Eminent African Personalities. Given a choice between the 10
suspects and the 38 million Kenyans, our choice is obvious.
Let us review the recommendations of the Waki team again ...
1. The police have been severely indicted in this report. To quote,
the criminal involvement of the police ranged from "murder to gang
rape and looting". A GSU officer hacked off a man's hand. They
stole and extorted bribes to protect people. The commission
recommends that the administration police should be abolished and
its officers integrated into the Kenya police Service. These
changes are long overdue. From the mediation agreement, Kenya
should have an independent police commission by January 2009, the
AP review should be complete by now, and the legal and policy
reforms to establish an independent complaints and civilian
oversight authority should be in place already.
It is unbelievable that the leadership of the police force has not
been overhauled in view of these findings. Pending actions include:
* Review of the Police Act and police standing orders;
* Establishing a representative police service commission;
* Launching a modern code of conduct;
* Setting up a statutory Directorate of Criminal Investigations
* Creating civilian oversight on the police.
2. Sexual and gender based violence were pervasive, yet there were
no institutions to deal with it at police stations and public
hospitals. The commission recommends that a Rapporteur on Sexual
Violence (with appropriate powers and staff, reporting to staff)
should be appointed to monitor the work of the Gender Commission
and gender units in various ministries, and to provide an annual
report to Parliament.
3. The partisan involvement of the Head of the Public Service and
the provincial administration in the elections and the violence
that followed it call for radical institutional reform that goes
beyond changing faces.
4. The Attorney General told the commission that he was waiting for
evidence to prosecute perpetrators of the violence. He is too
closely linked to the culture of impunity and should be relieved of
his duties. The commission recommends the creation of a special
tribunal to go round the culture of impunity and the AG. The
tribunal will try people first and offer them an opportunity to
defend themselves. The constitutional amendment Bill has been
withdrawn to insert provisions that accommodate the IREC
recommendations. This is also the time to include the
recommendations on the Special Tribunal.
5. The President and the Prime Minister must provide leadership
with respect to speed and efficiency in implementation of
commission reports, just as they did with regard to the rapid
implementation of the National Accord Bill.
Parliament must not shirk its responsibility to pass the following
laws as recommended: a. Special Tribunal b. International Crimes
Bill, 2008 c. Witness Protection Act to be operationalised (can
government maintain safety of witnesses) d. Freedom of Information
6. The Government has the following policy tasks ahead: a. National
Security Policy b. Conflict and disaster early warning and response
systems c. Joint operations preparedness arrangements d. Broader
participation in the National Security Advisory Council
- We are witnessing a situation where the politicians in
government are satisfied that they are now sharing power and that
it is business as usual. It is disturbing that they prefer to push
all issues that contributed to the crisis under the carpet in order
to turn such issues into an instrument to access power in 2012.
- We as Kenyan civil society are certain that the crisis we
witnessed is not over. These same politicians will certainly break
this country if they go unpunished.
- We demand the full implementation of the Waki recommendations
and immediate disbandment of the ECK. A small team of no more than
three people can be appointed by Kenyans to run ECK pending
establishment of rules to compose another body.
- We as civil society are calling on International Community to
immediately begin the process of taking perpetrators to the
International Criminal Court.
- We request the International Community not to be complacent or
to call this a Kenyan problem requiring a Kenyan solution. These
are politicians punishing the rest of the society and refusing to
implement these recommendations is not a Kenyan solution.
- Civil society will soon be contacting the ICC to discuss how to
have the perpetrators of violence brought to book.
Signed- * Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) * Awaaz *
Bunge la Mwananchi * Centre for the Development of Marginalised
Communities (CEDMAC) * Centre for Law and Research International
(CLARION) * Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) * Centre for
Rights, Education and Awareness for Women (CREAW) * Coalition on
Violence Against Women (COVAW) * The Cradle-the Childrens
Foundation * Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO)
* East African Law Society (EALS) * Fahamu * Foster National
Cohesion (FONACON) * Gay And Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) *
Haki Focus * Hema la Katiba * Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU)
* Innovative Lawyering * Institute for Education in Democracy (IED)
* International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) * International
Centre for Policy and Conflict * Kenya Human Rights Commission
(KHRC) * Kenya Leadership Institute (KLI) * Kenya National
Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) * Kituo cha Sheria * Mazingira
Institute * Muslim Human Rights Forum * The National Civil Society
Congress * National Convention Executive Council (NCEC) * RECESSPA
* Release Political Prisoners Trust * Sankara Centre * Society for
International Development (SID) * The 4 Cs * Women in Law and
Development in Africa (WiLDAF) * Urgent Action Fund (UAF)-Africa
And concerned citizens: Shailja Patel Mary Onyango Philo Ikonya
Kenyan Catholic Bishop's Statement on the Waki and Kriegler Reports
Pathways to peace
"Your word is a lamp for my steps, and a light for my path" - Psalm
Catholic Information Service for Africa
We, the Catholic Bishops of Kenya, meeting at the Tabor Hill
Spiritual Centre, Nyahururu address this message to our Kenyan
Catholic faithful and all people of good will.
Our country has undergone a difficult time during 2008. Gradually
we are recovering and beginning again to find our way. We gladly
acknowledge the commitment and efforts of many people to improve
the situation. However, there is still a long way to go. There are
warning signs again flashing in our country. After the widely
acclaimed breakthrough in forming the Grand Coalition government
and the hopes that sprang from this achievement, negative thoughts
and factors have begun to take hold of the minds of the people. The
roots of the problems that preceded the December 2007 election are
still there. The non-implementation of so many reports, prior to
these elections, had already made people sceptical. The voter
education programme for the December 2007 elections had not
prepared the people to accept that, in a democracy, there must be
a winner and a loser.
The performance of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) was less
than satisfactory. Kenyans felt betrayed. And since then, tensions
have been deliberately created by people with vested interests. The
innocence, unemployment (joblessness) and insecurity of youth have
been cynically utilised, while land ownership remains at the heart
of many of our problems. To this day, we know that many people are
not resettled (Internally Displaced Persons, Returnees and those
who have not been compensated).
The Kriegler and Waki Reports, just released, have simply brought
home to us the gravity of our situation. Kenya is at a crossroads.
We can take the opportunity that these reports provide to confront
the "culture of impunity" or degenerate into further crises,
ineptitude and moral stagnation. Consequently, we support the
implementation of these reports.
In implementing their findings, however, we have to carefully
distinguish between the sins and crimes of an individual and those
of a group (or groups) of people. To our Catholic faithful, we say
that as believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have first to
recognise our mistakes, failures and sins. We know that the word
"reconciliation" is much used. But often the word is misused. For
us, believers in Jesus Christ, the first step in the process of
reconciliation is with God and then, with our neighbours.
This first step is that the person recognises that his/her sin is
personal. It is not a consequence of rules fixed by law or
recommendations of a report. It has to be the sinner's conviction
that he/she was responsible for an action that was not in
accordance with the will of God. Then, in the Sacrament of
Reconciliation, on acceptance of the failure by the sinner, the
love of God is expressed through forgiveness, the giving of a
penance and the carrying out of reparation. Part of this reparation
- which is the second step - will be the seeking of forgiveness
from the person one has wronged and redressing all aspects of the
Finally, the process of reconciliation will require that the one
who was wronged will be ready and prepared to forgive - a
courageous and generous expression of what we pray each day in the
"Our Father": "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us".
We appeal in a special way to Christians and even more so to
Catholics who hold positions of responsibility - from those holding
political leadership positions, those in administrative positions
in government, those with responsibilities entrusted to them by the
communities - to recognise in conscience the ills of this country
and to move resolutely and confidently towards reconciliation.
To other Christians and people of good will, we say that everyone
needs to recognise his/her failures in building the new society.
What is wrong has to be denounced. Each person has to face his/her
responsibilities before God and neighbour. The promotion of the
good of all, and particularly those who are poor and seemingly
without a future, has to be at the centre of a just, compassionate
and progressive Kenya. All of us - together - can work to speedily
remedy the unacceptable situation of the IDPs, the returnees and
Together, we can work at conflict management, counselling, trauma
healing, and encourage efforts at grassroots level to rebuild
relationships on the personal level and across ethnic divides. On
all these aspects, we can reinforce the already commendable efforts
underway in various parts of the country - clear signs of hope for
all of us.
Finally, our beloved country Kenya stands to gain by "taking its
medicine" now, regaining its strength, developing the image of
peace, becoming a beacon of light and ambassadors of peace
throughout the entire region.
Jesus said: "Behold, I am with you always; yes, until the end of
time." - Matthew 28:20
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, Chairman Kenya Episcopal
Conference, Archbishop of Nairobi & Apostolic Administrator of
Thursday, November 6th, 2008
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