ICC Witness procurement Motion splits House
Debate on the motion by the Jubilee Coalition to have Parliament set up a committee to investigate the alleged procurement and coaching of witnesses for the Waki and Kriegler commissions started off on an acrimonious note Wednesday.
Opposition MPs described the motion as an attempt by the National Alliance to pacify its coalition partner United Republican Party (URP).
They then dragged in the name of retired President Mwai Kibaki, linking him to the violence in 2008.
The motion by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkong’a requires a simple majority to be approved, after which a Jubilee-dominated 15-member committee would be formed.
However, it was evident in the Wednesday-hour-and-a-half debate that the Opposition, and some members of the Jubilee Coalition, would oppose the creation of the committee.
Mr Chepkong’a kicked off the debate by describing the committee as a practical way of getting to the bottom of the “astounding and astonishing revelations that the witnesses who testified to Waki and Kriegler were procured.”
“This is the occasion to speak the truth. This is not the time to be cowards. This is not the time to run away from the truth,” he said.
GETTING THE TRUTH
The Ainabkoi MP termed the creation of the committee as an attempt to get the truth out no matter how painful it might eventually turn out to be.
“We are restricting ourselves to matters that went to Waki. People might say that we are talking about the ICC. That this is subjudice,” he added.
He further said the bid did not target Cord leader Raila Odinga.
“We are not looking for the Honourable Prime Minister. He is a free man. If someone was looking for him, he would probably be in jail,” he said.
He also said, amid murmurs from MPs, that the House would not seek to retrieve the Waki envelope as that was beyond the jurisdiction of Parliament, having been handed over to Koffi Annan.
Mr Annan was the chairman of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities that helped negotiate an end to the 2007/8 violence.
Majority Leader Aden Duale apologised for failing to demand debate of the Waki Report when it was tabled in 2008.
“We must deal with the elephant in the room and the elephant in the room in this case is the Waki Report,” said Mr Duale.
Cord MPs Eseli Simiyu, Olago Aluoch and Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo had their attempts to stop the debate refused, with Speaker Justin Muturi ruling that the National Assembly has the mandate to handle any matter that concerns the people of Kenya.
During his address, Mr Midiwo tore into the ruling coalition, describing the motion as an attempt to bring the content of Jubilee’s prayer rallies to the floor of the House.
“Raila Odinga is on your side. It’s you who do not know that. He is willing to testify.
“We know Ruto is fixed and we know who fixed him,” said Mr Midiwo.
TNA’s Joseph Manje (Kajiado North) and Dr Robert Pukose were the only Jubilee MPs who opposed the creation of the committee on grounds it would re-open old wounds.
Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura (ODM) termed the move a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“We have extended the deadline for passing Bills but we take a whole afternoon here wasting time discussing something that will not bring any solution,” he said.