Thursday, November 6, 2008

Catholics and Imams want action on Waki report

John Cardinal Njue (centre) at a past press briefing by the Kenya Episcopal Conference. Photo/FILE 

By JAMES KARIUKI and AMINA KIBIRIGE

Christian and Muslim religious leaders on Thursday called for the full implementation of the Waki report to rid the country of the culture of impunity and uphold the rule of law.

Catholic bishops said the Waki and Kriegler reports provided Kenyans with an opportunity to move forward.

The Waki report on post-election violence proposes prosecution of the planners of the chaos, while the Kriegler report recommends a new electoral commission.

“We support implementation of these two reports but we have to carefully distinguish between the sins and crimes of an individual and those of a group (or groups) of people. Kenyans must also first recognise their individual mistakes, failures and sins,” said the bishops after their annual retreat in Nyahururu.

Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC), while delivering the statement titled “Pathways to Peace” noted that the performance of the Electoral Commission of Kenya was not satisfactory and made Kenyans feel betrayed.

Politicians with vested interests, they said, deliberately created tensions, ‘cynically’ utilised unemployed and innocent youth to cause mayhem.

The 25 bishops, who included John Cardinal Njue, said this when they celebrated Mass at the Mary Immaculate Cathedral in Nyahururu after holding their annual plenary at Tabor Hill Spiritual Centre.

In a hard-hitting statement, the bishops also took issue with the ongoing debate over the two reports, saying it was causing unnecessary tension among Kenyans, adding that non-implementation of past reports had led to a culture of impunity.

Some MPs have dismissed the report, saying it should not be implemented.

In Mombasa, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya said Mr Justice Philip Waki erred by failing to give alleged perpetrators of post-election violence a chance to defend themselves before forwarding the names in an envelope to chief mediator Kofi Annan.

Cycle of violence

Addressing a press conference, council secretary-general Sheikh Mohammed Dor, said full implementation of the report would end the cycle of election violence.

The council’s organising secretary, Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa, said failure to implement the report would be denying Kenyans justice as has been the case with previous commissions of inquiry.

“In Kenya, every election is marred by violence, deaths, and destruction of property yet no action is taken by the Government,” they said.

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