Unlike the joke that the kriegler commission was and it's below average report-The joker report that - among other things said /or and recommended the ECK commission be ‘radically reformed, or replaced, with a new name, image and ethos, composed of a lean policy making and supervisory board, selected in a transparent and inclusive process.’ JUSTICE WAKI should be the Kenya’s new HERO and deserves a NATION-WIDE STANDING OVATION for a job well done! The 529 page report is as good as it gets-I am elated! He did exceptionally well where others like Kriegler failed us. The South African Pandered to the power of the elites in Kenya. And the fact that one could trace his roots from/through colonialism, it’s no surprise to many.
THE WAKI REPORT:
The WAKI Commission started out with a well- planned out goals and objectives and went through every task diligently. Even though there were some initial setbacks like time constrains among others that are noted in the final report.
The Time Constrains Part-The Commission reported that it concluded early in its tenure that it would not have enough time to visit all areas that had been heavily affected by the post election violence. The life of the Commission, as provided in the Gazette, was only three months and set to expire on 22 August 2008. Hence, the Commission immediately wrote to His Excellency the President of Kenya and to the Panel of Eminent African Personalities asking for a 60 day extension so that it could plan ahead. While the Panel supported the request, the National Dialogue and Reconciliation team, which was the final decision maker, did not. Instead the Commission was granted only a 30 day extension, published in the Gazette Notice no. 7288 Vol. cx – no. 67 dated 12th August 2008. The Commission conducted hearings in public in the following areas: Nairobi between 9 and 25 July 2008 and again from 19 to 27 August 2008, Naivasha on 28 and 29 July, Nakuru from 30 July to 1 August 2008, Eldoret from 5 to 7 August 2008, Kisumu from 11 to 13 August 2008, Borabu on 14 and 15 August and Mombasa on 1 and 2 September 2008. Because of the failure to obtain a 60 day extension of time the Commission abandoned its original plans to conduct public hearings and investigations in Kakamega, Busia, Kericho, Bungoma, Laikipia, Thika and Limuru. Eventually, the Commission received another two week extension for the purpose of preparing this report through Gazette Notice No. 8661 in Vol CX – 74 dated 12th September 2008. The difficulty of receiving limited extensions piecemeal rather than all at once diminished the capacity to engage in forward planning.
How the commission established a communication strategy
The commission recognized that the public legitimately expected the Commission to work transparently and to keep the public informed. Both to manage public expectations concerning information and to develop a reciprocal relationship with the media, the Commission appointed Ms Mildred Ngesa, an experienced journalist, as media relations officer.
In addition, the Commission designed and established a website www.cipev.org to facilitate public access to information about its mandate and its work. The Commission also set up a secure email address, firstname.lastname@example.org for receiving confidential information and correspondence. Once the Commission began hearings, the verbatim record of public proceedings were posted on the website.
Aside from the above, the Commission conducted periodic media briefings to inform the public of its work. The three Commissioners appeared together on television interviews in the initial phase after which the Chair issued press releases and engaged with the media in other ways.
Consultations with Government Departments and Others
Is this a coincidence that both President Kibaki and former President Moi avoided to be interviewed by the commission?
The WAKI commission stated that the initial meetings with officials were held in private. The officials with whom the Commission met at this stage included the Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner of Prisons, the Commandant of the Administration Police, the Chief of the General Staff, the Attorney General, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) (represented by members of his Commission), the Director General of the National Security Intelligence Service, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, and the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President in charge of Internal Security and Provincial Administration. This Commission appreciates the level of co-operation received from the various government departments throughout its work.
The Commission also sought audience with the political leadership and managed to interview the Vice-President, the Prime Minister and one Deputy Prime Minister. An appointment sought with the President did not materialize while the former President declined to meet with the Commissioners.
Role of Civil Society in the WAKI report
In the report, the Commission highlighted that it deliberately decided to work closely with Kenyan civil society organizations and seek their assistance with information, contacts, and expertise in areas related to post-election violence. A number of these organizations attended the Commission’s hearings through lawyers who represented victims and communities and provided useful feedback to members of the public on the Commission’s work.
These included Kenyans for Peace with Truth and justice (KPTJ), the Inter-Religious Forum, the Kenyan Section of the International
Commission of Jurists, (ICJ-K), the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR), different chapters of the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission, and various religious and faith based organizations.
Civil society and human rights organizations greatly contributed to the
Commission’s work by:
•Providing background material and reports concerning the history and patterns of human rights violations in Kenya. This helped the Commission establish a foundation from which to proceed;
•Giving access to their records, often including statements from witnesses they had interviewed and helping map out geographic regions that should be the focus of investigations;
•providing contacts with local community leaders, individual victims, and other key contacts in communities where they had established trust and credibility;
•Assisting and providing victims the Commission interviewed in public and in private with emotional support, based on long established relationships with them; and
•Offering various types of assistance to victims, including medical services, counseling, and various types of community support.
Standing before the Commission
The Commission also addressed the question of legal standing from persons who wished to participate in its proceedings. The following government departments were covered by its mandate and hence were allowed to participate in the hearings: the Kenya Police Service, the Administration Police, the Provincial Administration, the Electoral Commission of Kenya, the National Security Intelligence Service, the Kenya Prisons Service and the Armed Forces.
It also said that-Groups of citizens and civil society organizations also applied to participate in the proceedings. They included victims’ representatives, experts on specific aspects of the Commission’s work, and organizations that had been involved in addressing the post-election violence itself. All had useful information for the Commission.
The Commission considered that the quality of proceedings would benefit from allowing as many interest groups as possible to participate. In the end, the
Commission gave legal standing to the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and the Center for the Advancement of Women and Children, both of which were allowed to represent the interests of women in the context of the post election violence. The Commission also granted the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, the Rift Valley Internally Displaced Persons Association, the Center for Justice and Crimes against Humanity, and the Tegla Lorupe Foundation standing as interveners. Outside Nairobi, the Commission granted regional law societies standing in its proceedings. These included the Rift Valley Law Society in Nakuru, the North Rift Law Society in Eldoret, and the West Kenya Law Society in Kisumu, and the Law Society of Kenya (South Rift Branch) even though the Commission did not hold proceedings in Kericho, where the society is based. The Commission declined requests for standing by Kenya’s two main political parties, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Party of National Unity (PNU) because it did not think their participation was necessary. However, each of them testified through their Secretaries General.
All groups participating in the proceedings were asked to furnish the Commission with lists of their witnesses and statements from the witnesses. A significant number of the witnesses who testified before the Commission were identified and processed by lawyers acting on behalf of various civil society organizations. To maintain control over its proceedings the Commission insisted that such witnesses coming in had to be processed with the full participation of Counsel Assisting the Commission. This ensured that relevant and credible evidence was presented. Whenever necessary to avoid grandstanding, the Commission intervened to limit questions from lawyers.
The Commission’s experience was that allowing the diverse interests seeking representation greatly increased the quality of the inquiry. The lawyers for the various parties brought useful perspectives before the Commission that might have been missed altogether, if they had been excluded. In addition, the participation of these same lawyers enabled the Commission to reach out to witnesses who might not otherwise have come forward. This broadened participation and enriched understanding. Furthermore, a number of the lawyers admitted into our proceedings had sharply opposing points of view. This increased the objectivity and the credibility of the testified received.