Parliament is gearing up to delete names of prominent personalities named in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Report after members voted to have a clause barring debate on the content of the report deleted. Members of the Jubilee coalition successfully passed an amendment which seeks to give Parliament a leeway to alter the contents of the report. The amendment moved by Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga states, “The principal Act is amended in section 48 by inserting the words for consideration “ immediately after the word parliament.”
The import of the amendment is that the National Assembly will have the pressure to amend the report including deleting the names of those named in it. Among the prominent personalities include President Uhuru Kenyatta and Bethwel Kiplagat, who chaired TJRC. An amendment by Cord nominated MP Zuleikha Hassan seeking to overturn the committee’s own amendment was defeated by the majority in a vote of 79 to 30 votes.
In her proposed amendment Zuleikha wanted the clause seeking to allow debate on the report defeated saying there was a likelihood for the MPs to alter its content. During the second reading MPs said they must be allowed to alter the report but Cord and allies expressed fears that there was a motive to use the opening to delete the names of some of those mentioned in the report.
Majority Leader Aden Duale said the National Assembly was not simply “a conveyor belt” to just read and adopt a report without the input of the law-makers. “This House must sit and analyse this report, we cannot sit here to read reports and pass them without out input,” he said. The law-makers dismissed the proposal by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that even as the MPs debate the Bill “any such consideration shall not interfere with the context, text, form and substance of the report.”
“I must have an input on how reparation will be done to the people of Northern Kenya,” said the Majority Leader as he backed the TJRC (Amendment) Bill, 2013. According to Duale, most of the MPs in the House were new, and should therefore be allowed to discuss the reconciliation process. Millie Mabona (Mbita) and Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) said the “tyranny of numbers” was likely to mutilate the report of the TJRC and obfuscate the truth.
They said the idea for MPs not to alter the report was key to ensure that all the aspects raised in the report are tackled. She said the National Assembly should not set out to white-wash those mentioned in the report and the issues raised, because, if they remain un-addressed they “will just blow up”. “If we are not careful as a country, we will go worse than the Egyptian way.
Let us be bold, let us be brave, let us deal with these issues once and for all,” said Mabona. Mabona added that President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto should focus on healing the country even as they let their lawyers battle the cases of crimes against humanity at the ICC