Nzau Musau: TJRC public hearings to start later this month - The Star

ALL eyes on the Bethwel Kiplagat-led Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission as it begins provincial public hearings later in the month.

Sources privy to the workings of the team which resumed work on Monday after the Christmas break said a provisional date of January 18 has been set to begin the hearings.

The commission time has been running out against huge expectations by Kenyans and the crafters of the Kenya national dialogue and reconciliation framework.

"January 18th is the tentative date we have set forth but of course this will be determined by other factors which I am not in a position to discuss," a source said.

Appointed in August, the commission has spent four months in limbo, months which according to officials were spent developing rules of procedure, briefing foreign commissioners and settling down.

The time was also to be used to set up the secretariat in readiness for the public hearings but this has not happened. Last year, the commission sent out advertisement for secretariat head to civil society networks but never recruited.

The truth however has been that the commission is suffering from cash-related problems which the commissioners have been impressing on the parent ministry of justice and national cohesion to provide.

Although the commission has prepared a budget proposal to the ministry incorporating the provincial hearings and secretariat costs, the decision on this is stuck in bureaucratic chain of government.

Besides the less than Sh80 million allocated in last year's budget, the commission has been starved of cash with donors making it clear that they will not fund it until fears about it are confirmed.

Immediately after it was formed, the cabinet took a decision that its mandate would be expanded to cover post election violence. That was after successive failure or lack of will from government to set up an independent special tribunal.

"That decision which has never been reversed was a grave mistake and continues to clog this process into an abyss denying its legitimacy and obtaining it a lot of suspicion," transitional justice expert Ndung'u Wainaina said.

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