on Ethnic Relations / Rapports sur les relations
following section is consisted of part, full or summaries of articles
from diverses sources (newspapers, newsletters, etc...).
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/ 21 / 2003
to probe corrupt judges begins sittings"
are being asked about the validity of verdicts handed down by
many of Kenya's judges, as a tribunal opens this week to investigate
their corrupt behaviour.
Kiama, a programme officer with the Kenya Human Rights Commission,
says it is expected that a number of appeals will be launched
to revisit old cases as the tribunal does its work. He says litigants
who feel justice was not done and want their cases reopened, must
be allowed to do so. "We are very clear on this. The tribunals
should be given space to do their job. But it doesn't end there.
If a litigant wants a case reopened, why not?," Kiama told
judicial system must give them a chance," he said. "It
is their right."
Mwai Kibaki earlier this month suspended 23 judges, and set up
a tribunal to investigate their conduct, in a move widely seen
as an attempt at restoring public confidence in Kenya's judiciary.
move followed the release on 1 Oct of a damning report accusing
a number of judges, magistrates and other court officials of gross
misconduct and abuse of justice.
document, known as the Ringera report, also described Kenyan court
registries as "a haven of corrupt officials", where
court fees were frequently inflated by means of collusion between
court officials and advocates.
tribunal's mandate is to investigate the conduct of the judges
and their alleged involvement in corruption and unethical practices.
A number of judges have opted to step down rather than face the
judges under investigation are charged with a number of crimes,
including soliciting huge bribes from litigants appearing in cases
before them and delaying judgements for as long as five years.
The report also cited several cases in which judges assumed ownership
of property under dispute.
separate tribunal has been set up to investigate 82 allegedly
corrupt magistrates around the country.
/ 16 / 2003
EAST AFRICAN STANDARD, Kenya
body formed to probe rights abuses" (Nixon Ng'ang'a)
Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be formed in
Kenya, it was revealed yesterday.
commission may open a can of historical and legal worms in the
and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Kiraitu Murungi, yesterday
said the Government will form the commission after he received
findings of a Task Force led by the Kenya Human Rights Commission
chairman, Prof Makau Mutua.
commission will probe independent Kenya human rights violations
and those of political, social, cultural and economic nature.
setting up of the commission is the main recommendation of the
Mutua Task Force, which was formed by the Government on April
17. It was mandated to find out whether a truth commission is
necessary. It was also required to recommend its nature. Three
Kanu-allied members, Julius Sunkuli, Amukowa Anangwe and Josephine
Odhiambo withdrew from the 18-member team to protest the final
want to thank the Task Force for submitting this excellent report.
As a Government, we shall study the report and its recommendations,"
will as far as possible within the resources available find ways
of implementing the recommendations," he said.
said the country can not forget past crimes against its people.
The Government wants to come to terms with the past as part of
its commitment to transition justice, he said.
want to diagnose the disease that has ailed Kenya for the last
40 years. We cannot understand the past unless we find out what
atrocities were committed, who committed them, where they were
committed and against whom," Murungi said.
report recommends that President Kibaki establishes before June
next year a truth commission of no more than 11 commissioners.
It will investigate violations against individuals and communities
rights between 1963 and 2003.
further recommends that the commission be vested with powers to
bar the "guilty" from holding public office and to seize
fraudulently-acquired property. It will have the powers to summon
a commission should be empowered to offer amnesty or immunity
from prosecution to those who wilfully surrender stolen wealth.
162-page report says victims of injustice must be redressed through
"compensation, restitution and reparations."
however, cautions against witch-hunting.
want an effective and credible truth commission, an institution
that will not engage in a witch-hunt or a white-wash," the
or their relatives of police brutality and other crimes believed
to have been sanctioned by the Government or individuals acting
on its behalf may sue for compensation that could run into million
know the issue is emotive and President Kibaki and Murungi will
come under a lot of pressure from Kanu and those in Narc with
something to hide. But the Government must understand its credibility
lies in genuine reforms. It can not afford to renege on its promises,"
Commission's idea is modelled along the South African body formed
to pacify racially motivated crimes after the end of apartheid
regime in 1994.
/ 10 / 2003
fuels tension in Narc coalition" (Macharia Gaitho)
life, he was an academic known well only to his University of
death, Prof Crispin Odhiambo Mbai has become larger than life
as the mystery over his murder impacts heavily on the already
divided ruling coalition. The furious scenes in Parliament on
Wednesday capped a dramatic few weeks where the infighting within
Narc had been played out in the accusations, counter-accusations
and selective leaks of privileged police information.
drama in Parliament came to a head when Kasipul Kabondo MP Peter
Owidi fingered government whip Norman Nyagah as the “financier”
behind the killing. The Kamukunji MP in turn pointed to Cabinet
minister Raila Odinga and Opposition MP Gideon Moi as the forces
behind a long-whispering campaign leading to the “naming”.
angry, almost physical, exchanges outside the chambers between
Mr Odinga and Cabinet colleague Martha Karua immediately afterwards
were replete with accusations that brought out sharply a bitter
divide in Narc and the clearly ethnic undertones.
was just the latest in a drama that goes back to September 14
when Dr Mbai was surprised in his house by four assailants as
he relaxed on a Sunday afternoon.
was Mr Nyagah, who lives right next-door in a block of maisonettes
off Ngong Road, who rushed him to Nairobi Hospital, where he died
while being treated.
from being a lecturer, Dr Mbai was the chairman of the technical
committee on devolution at the National Conference Conference.
He was known to be Mr Odinga’s key ally and political strategist.
was at the constitutional conference that a final showdown was
expected between two Narc factions over the proposal for the establishment
of an office of executive Prime Minister.
new office, if established, would, according to the pre-election
pact that formed Narc, be reserved for the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) wing of the coalition, and specifically to Mr Odinga.
National Alliance (Party) of Kenya (NAK) grouping, specifically
an inner core fiercely loyal to President Kibaki, was working
hard to block such an eventuality.
after Dr Mbai was pronounced dead, Mr Odinga and the chairman
of the constitutional conference, Prof Yash Pal Ghai, declared
the killing an assassination.
Odinga quickly moved to dilute impressions that he was accusing
the Government. He stated specifically that the Narc government
could not be involved in such killings, though he insisted that
it was an assassination which could be traced to an individual
or group other than the authorities.
finger-pointing and ensuing tensions did not let up, however,
as politicians allied to his faction continued publicly to lay
blame at the feet of the Government, at least forces within the
Government close to State House.
recriminations continued after three of the dozen or so people
in custody were charged in court with Dr Mbai’s murder.
Matters came to a head, however, when the Sunday Standard published
verbatim extracts from the police interrogation of one suspect.
the paper withheld publication of the name of a politician the
suspect claimed had contracted the killing, the report provided
tantalising clues with the description of a “senior Narc
report provided room for renewed rounds of speculation and finger
pointing, while the Government responded clumsily by arresting
three senior Standard staffers – managing director Tom Mshindi
and editors David Makali and Kwamchetsi Makokha.
Makali and a policeman involved in the investigation, CID officer
John Chemweno, were eventually charged on October 1 with theft
of a video tape belonging to the Government.
few days later, over 50 Mps walked out of Parliament after they
were denied the chance to raise a motion of adjournment to discuss
the harassment of journalists over the Mbai murder.
drawn from LDP and Kanu, they had reportedly planned to table
in the House a copy of the contentious “stolen” videotape,
which was already widely doing the rounds in Parliament and elsewhere,
and it had become an open secret that Mr Nyagah was the MP mentioned.
his reaction to the allegations on Wednesday, the MP left no doubt
that he considered it all based on politics. Apart from the alibi
he provided on his movements on the weekend of the killing, particularly
at the time and place he was supposed to have met the killers
and given them a gun, he claimed he was targeted specifically
because he was close to President Kibaki.
MP who has had fingers point in his direction for sometime is
Mr Paul Muite, who earlier in the week voluntarily presented himself
to CID headquarters to record a statement.
Muite has been blaming Mr Odinga and political activist and constitutional
review delegate Orie Rogo Manduli for trying to link him to the
murder. He has also been demanding that that Mr Odinga and Prof
Ghai be required to record statements with the police on what
they know about the killing being an assassination.
makes the issue even more intriguing is the Kanu angle. Mr Nyagah
named Mr Moi and another key Kanu figure, Mr William Ruto, as
those behind the circulation of the controversial videotape. The
big question remains whether the Mbai killing was an assassination,
a murder arising out of other issues or simply a bungled robbery.
/ 09 / 2003
improvement in corruption index"
public sector officials are perceived to be just as corrupt under
President Mwai Kibaki as they were under former president Daniel
arap Moi, according to the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency
scored 1.9 out of a clean score of 10 in both this year's and
last year's Corruption Perceptions Index, formulated by TI, which
reflects perceived levels of corruption among politicians and
public officials. Seven separate surveys were used to assess the
country's performance, which ranked Kenya 122 out of 133 countries
surveyed this year.
Kibaki was elected in late December 2002 on a platform of good
governance and fighting the country's all-pervasive corruption.
the launch of the index in London, the Chairman of TI, Peter Eigen
said Kibaki was the new leader of a country that had been "devastated
has made the fight against corruption a major priority, but the
task is an enormous one," Eigen said. "To turn Kenya
into a country where corruption is not the order of the day requires
sustained commitment at both the national and international level,
both in terms of financial resources and practical support."
Nine out of 10 developing countries scored less than 5 out of
10, TI reported. "Their governments must implement results-oriented
programmes to fight corruption, but they also urgently require
practical help tailored to the needs of their national anti-corruption
strategies," said Eigen.
backing was needed for civil society in corrupt countries to monitor
governments' behaviour, he said. Donor countries and international
financial institutions should also "take a firmer line"
to stop financial support to those governments and blacklist their
own companies caught paying bribes abroad.
corruption is allowed to flourish unchecked, more children will
suffer from lack of clean water and lack of medicines, and will
go to schools with no books," he warned. "The time for
excuses is long past. It is time for decisive action by governments
and business alike."
text of a UN Convention Against Corruption was finished on 1 October,
which will be followed by a signing ceremony in Mexico in December.
The UN General Assembly will then be asked to make 9 December
a new annual International Anti-Corruption Day.