Implement Kriegler and Waki Reports or Perish: NCCK tells Kenya Government

Implement Kriegler and Waki Reports or Perish!

1. Preamble
We, the Heads of Member churches and regional church leaders of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, have been meeting here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, reflecting together on issues of concern to our nation with special focus on the National Healing and Reconciliation process. In this reflection, we have particularly been reminded of God's consideration of justice, truth, forgiveness and accountability in the life of a nation as profiled in Ezekiel 22: 1-31.

2. Reports from IREC and CIPEV
When the National Accord was signed in February this year, we felt that the Coalition Government would afford the nation an unprecedented opportunity to pursue long term solutions to the underlying factors that resulted in the Post Election Violence.

Through the African Union mediated Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process, two Commissions were established - The Independent Review Commission (IREC) headed by Justice Johann Kriegler, and the Commission to Investigate the Post Election Violence (CIPEV) headed by Justice Phitlip Waki.

IREC had a mandate to inquire into all aspects of the 2007 General Elections with a particular emphasis on the Presidential Election. CIPEV had a mandate to investigate the facts and surrounding circumstances related to the acts of violence that followed the 2007 Presidential election, as well as the actions and omissions of state security agencies.

By the grace of God, the two Commissions worked under great pressure of time in an atmosphere of anxiety and have successfully completed their tasks and released the final reports. We are especially grateful that the two reports were made public immediately after they were issued, contrary to past experiences where Kenyans had to beg and grovel for reports of commissions of inquiry to be made public. We commend both Commissions for their work and the contributions they will make to the national healing process.

3. Demeaning the Reports by politicians and the police
We as church leaders are deeply saddened, disturbed and appalled by the carelessness with which political leaders and even the police are talking about these two reports. They are blatantly exhibiting high levels of insincerity, selfishness and panic regarding the two reports. They are misleading the country in the way they are interpreting and commenting on the reports.

The politicians have decided to focus on narrow aspects of the reports that yield into their own selfish and immediate gains, deliberately leaving out significant and -critical aspects of those reports.

We state here that the Kriegler Report is more than the Electoral Commission of Kenya and electoral boundaries; And the Waki report is more than a sealed envelope or the threat to have the suspected perpetrators charged before the International Criminal Court. This narrow focus is short term and uncalled for, and is wholly an insult on the intelligence of Kenyans.

It is even more regrettable that the same politicians who early this year incited people to fight and kill one another and effectively reduced inter-community relations to bitter enmity have now closed ranks and are collaborating to dismiss the two reports.

One of the arguments offered against implementation of these reports and particularly the CIPEV Report is that political careers will be destroyed. When did the careers of individual politicians stand in the way of the nation's stability and prosperity? And when did the careers of individual politicians become more important than the lives of Kenyans? Such arguments are demeaning to humanity and wholly sinful.

Another argument has been that the Commission condemned people without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves. But this does not hold considering that this was a commission of inquiry. The persons suspected to have been involved in the Post Election Violence will have adequate opportunities to defend themselves before the proposed Special Tribunal.

We also appreciate that the Special Tribunal will enable us to expedite the cases without the usual encumbrances that attain to our normal judicial processes.

It is essential to note that the Truth, Justice and Reconcilliation Commission, whose bill was passed by Parliament recently, is not a substitute to the implementation of the Kriegler and Waki reports. We insist that all Kenyans must understand that forgiveness is not a substitute for justice and accountability. God expects forgiveness within a context of repentance, restitution, justice and accountability.

4. Implement the Reports without further ado
We have taken time to read and internalize the two reports in depth and detail, and are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that they should be implemented in totality. Leaders who attempt to disparage these reports will by every means be standing in the way of justice for all Kenyans.

In summarizing the two reports, the following points stand out:

i. The IREC Report offers Kenya the greatest opportunity ever to apply corrective
reforms on our electoral process in three fronts:

One, the constitutional and legal;

Two, the administrative and organizational structure; and:

Three, the dispute resolution mechanism.

Quoting from the report:
"In conclusion, political parties breached most of the rules in the national and international books regarding the orderly conduct of campaigns and elections. While Kenyans must improve the entirety of the regulatory regime that currently governs elections, the greater challenge is to inculcate an ethical and responsible political culture. The culture of impunity maintained by all political players would certainly strain any law enforcement mechanisms that are established".

ii. The CIPEV Report offers Kenya an opportunity to reflect on her identity and values, and to act on a culture of deliberate use of violence to obtain political power and one of impunity through persistent decisions not to punish perpetrators. The culture of impunity has given rise to systematic and quite often tragic acts of omission and commission by state actors.

Quoting from the report:

"(Certain) factors have dovetailed to make violence the method of choice for solving a wide range of political differences and to obtain political power. Further more, because violence surrounding elections has been ethnically directed, this has increased distrusts among different ethnic groups and vastly eroded any sense of national identity, Hence ethnicity has now become a dangerous and negative connotation. The basic issue facing the nation is how to deal with these issues. Attempts have been made to crack down on gangs and halfheartedly to reform institutions. Neither has been successful because the government has not been serious, has not been willing to address the generic issues or underlying causes of violence."

True to the assertions that we and other groups and organizations have made in the past, the so called "ethnic violence" in Kenya is nothing more than persons mobilizing violence to either acquire or retain power. The different episodes of violence have been a gross cheapening of the lives and blood of Kenyans. The violence, which climaxed in January this year has been an insult to Kenyans by persons who have taken their personal ambitions and manipulatively made them sound like the needs of the different ethnic communities.

5. The blood of Kenyans is crying
We remind everyone that the blood of the innocent Kenyans that was wantonly and senselessly shed in the early part of this year and in past episodes of politically instigated violence is crying out for justice. Similarly crying out for justice are those who have been maimed, sexually assaulted and lost properties and economic opportunities in this violence.

We say the following to all who did any form of rigging, all who corrupted or falsified results in any way, all who organized or perpetrated violence in anyway and who perverted justice: The blood of Kenyans is on your hands! The warning in the Bible in Galatians 6:7 is very clear: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows". You now have an opportunity to mitigate this and make amends, else wait for God's judgement as happened to the people of Israel in the times of prophet Ezekiel. Nobody should ever cheapen the lives of Kenyans in this manner again.

Secondly, we note that the occurrence of the violence was an indictment against the government and state institutions. It is even worse that violence has been allowed to become a culture among Kenyans. This is a gross failure by the government and state institutions to fulfill their social, legal and divine mandate to ensure there is peace, even applying violence where there is need. Romans 13: 3 -4 in the Bible makes this very clear. It is therefore very distressing to us when the leadership of Kenya is today working hard to reward the wrongdoers and continue punishing the innocent. It is not right.

6. Way Forward
Having considered the two reports and the arguments being proffered by politicians, we find the following as the way forward in this matter:

i. Full and unreserved implementation of the two Reports. This is non-negotiabie. We in this regard urge His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki and Right Honourable Prime Minister Raila Odinga to midwife a process that will lead to the adoption and implementation of the two reports. Failure to do so will be a gross betrayal of the National Accord and by extension the people of Kenya who have entrusted them with leadership.

ii. The implementation of the two Reports is not and should not solely be in the purview of politicians. Politicians caused the violence for their own selfish interests, and Kenyans should not let them manipulate the implementation of the two reports to their interest. There must be a broad based consultative implementation mechanism for both reports.

iii. On our part, we shall mobilize ourselves and other actors to closely monitor the conduct of individual parliamentarians when the two reports are discussed in Parliament, during which activity religious leaders will attend in their clerical robes, and mark those who subvert justice in their contributions. We shall in future political contexts mark and expose such as liabilities to Kenya. We shall also monitor their comments and activities outside Parliament.

iv. The government should facilitate wide circulation of the two reports among Kenyans, beginning with their translation into Kiswahili and their being sold at affordable prices. This will increase the sense of ownership and give Kenyans a chance to hold their leaders accountable.

v. If the reports are not implemented, NCCK will work with other religious leaders and civil society actors to mobilize millions of signatures to support an appeal to the International Criminal Court to take up the matter and investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of political violence.

In conclusion, we call upon all Kenyans to come out and demand that the two reports be implemented in total since they offer space to re-create our national institutions, psyche, identity and accountability.

The two reports must also be seen as part of the broad healing and reconciliation process.
We remind Kenyans to be wary of politicians. It is clear that politicians will gladly use and misuse the ordinary Kenyans and particularly the youth and then forget them. Kenyans must reject this tendency and leave their selfish leaders to carry their own crosses and burdens.

Indeed we do state here that should the cabinet and the National Assembly find that they cannot implement the two reports, then it will be a confirmation that they are not worthy of being our leaders.

Signed on this 4th day of November 2008 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.

Rev. Dr. Charles Kibicho Chairman
Rev. Canon Peter Karanja General Secretary

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