Ethno-Net Database: Kenya



Other data on Kenya / Autres données sur le Kenya







Ivory Coast



South Africa

Tribunal to probe corrupt judges begins sittings
Truth body formed to probe rights abuses
Murder fuels tension in Narc coalition
No improvement in corruption index
Reports on Ethnic Relations  /  Rapports sur les relations éthniques

The following section is consisted of part, full or summaries of articles from diverses sources (newspapers, newsletters, etc...).
La section suivante est constituée d'exraits, de la totalité ou de résumés d'articles provenant d'origines diverses (journaux,bulletins, etc..).

10 / 21 / 2003


"Tribunal to probe corrupt judges begins sittings"

Questions 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.

Peter 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 IRIN.

"The judicial system must give them a chance," he said. "It is their right."

President 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 tribunal.

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.

A separate tribunal has been set up to investigate 82 allegedly corrupt magistrates around the country.


10 / 16 / 2003


"Truth body formed to probe rights abuses" (Nixon Ng'ang'a)

A Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be formed in Kenya, it was revealed yesterday.

The commission may open a can of historical and legal worms in the country.

Justice 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.

The commission will probe independent Kenya human rights violations and those of political, social, cultural and economic nature.

The 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 report.

"I want to thank the Task Force for submitting this excellent report. As a Government, we shall study the report and its recommendations," said Murungi.

"We will as far as possible within the resources available find ways of implementing the recommendations," he said.

He 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.

"We 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.

The 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.

It 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 anyone.

Such a commission should be empowered to offer amnesty or immunity from prosecution to those who wilfully surrender stolen wealth.

The 162-page report says victims of injustice must be redressed through "compensation, restitution and reparations."

It, however, cautions against witch-hunting.

"Kenyans want an effective and credible truth commission, an institution that will not engage in a witch-hunt or a white-wash," the report says.

Victims 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 of shillings.

"I 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," Mutua said.

The 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 / 10 / 2003


"Murder fuels tension in Narc coalition" (Macharia Gaitho)

In life, he was an academic known well only to his University of Nairobi colleagues.

In 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.

The 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”.

The 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.

That 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.

It 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.

Apart 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.

It 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.

The 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.

The National Alliance (Party) of Kenya (NAK) grouping, specifically an inner core fiercely loyal to President Kibaki, was working hard to block such an eventuality.

Soon after Dr Mbai was pronounced dead, Mr Odinga and the chairman of the constitutional conference, Prof Yash Pal Ghai, declared the killing an assassination.

Mr 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Though 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 politician.”

The 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.

Mr 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.

A 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.

All 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.

In 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.

Another 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.

Mr 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.

What 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.


10 / 09 / 2003


"No improvement in corruption index"

Kenyan 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 International (TI).

Kenya 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.

President Kibaki was elected in late December 2002 on a platform of good governance and fighting the country's all-pervasive corruption.

At 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 by corruption".

"He 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.

International 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.

"If 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."

The 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.

Other data on Kenya / Autres données sur le Kenya