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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Irony: Kiplagat summoned by TJRC

Grinning Kiplagat denies participation in the Wagalla Masaacre.
Bethuel Kiplagat, the immediate former Chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) is among 42 potential witnesses summoned to appear at the commission’s first public hearings in Garissa, beginning next Tuesday. 

Others include former Cabinet Ministers David Mwiraria and G.G Kariuki, former Chief of General Staff General Joseph Kibwana, North Eastern Provincial Commissioner James Ole Serian and former PC Francis Sigei.

Kiplagat who resigned from the TJRC in November last year after public pressure and all those summoned served in various capacities in the government during the infamous 1984 massacre of civilians at the Wagalla airstrip. “You are hereby notified that you have been identified by the Commission as a potential witness who may have information that is useful to the commission. You have a right to secure legal representation if necessary,” said TJRC Secretary Patricia Nyaudi in a statement.

Residents remember the massacre of more than 5,000 men from the Degodia clan who were reportedly killed by security forces during the Degodia/Ajuran clashes of the 70s and 80s. At the Wagalla airstrip where many are said to have been shot and tortured, victims lamented that the state had not acknowledged the massacre in 27 years.

The hearings to be launched at the Garissa Primary School grounds on Monday would be rolled out nonstop across the country, until September, winding up in Western and Mt Elgon regions. After the hearings in Northern and upper Eastern regions, TJRC will move to Nairobi and Nyanza, Central and Rift Valley, lower Eastern and Coast, and then conclude in Western and Mt Elgon. The commission has so far collected 20,000 statements and 303 memoranda across the country. Thirty percent of all the statements came from women; among their concerns were sexual violations and economic marginalisation.

The Nyayo torture chambers victims, northern and upper eastern Kenya victims, Mau forest evictees, the Nubian and Ogiek communities have in recent times issued the commission with their memoranda. These communities are seeking redress as well as compensation where applicable.

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