House rejects Ouko report - Daily Nation

House rejects Ouko report

Wednesday December 22 2010

Parliament has shot down a motion seeking the adoption of the Ouko report December 22, 2010 saying it is based on hearsay. FILE

Parliament has shot down a motion seeking the adoption of the Ouko report December 22, 2010 saying it is based on hearsay. FILE 

By CAROLINE WAFULA

Parliament has shot down a motion seeking the adoption of the Ouko report as Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti spoke out on his poisoning the same day the former Foreign Affairs minister was killed.

Prof Saitoti recalled that he was bedridden and on the verge of death after being poisoned as Dr Robert Ouko was murdered.

Several MPs felt the report was not credible with Prof Saitoti stating it was based on falsehoods.

The minister said he was bemused that there was no mention of his poisoning in the report by the select committee that investigated circumstances that led to the death of the former minister.

“At the time Ouko was dying, I was poisoned; I was the Vice President of the country, how come the report does not mention this?

"This should trouble any right thinking person with conscience, how come the committee didn’t even care to investigate that aspect?” he posed.
The report found its way on the floor 20 years after the murder of Dr Ouko. Debate on the report based on investigations conducted by Parliament six years ago began last week.

Only six out of ten members of the select committee chaired by former Kisumu Town East MP Gor Sungu signed the report after others quit the team while others declined to append their signatures on grounds that some of the major recommendations were not supported by the evidence that was gathered during investigations.

Prof Saitoti, contributing to debate on the report Wednesday, said it was full of falsehoods and hearsay, more so because it failed to mention the incident of his poisoning despite the fact that he had been the Vice President.

“When Ouko died I was the VP, and those who can remember know that at the time he was killed I suffered from poisoning and almost died. I was on the death bed and I can also bring a picture to show the same,” he said.

“How come the committee never took an interest in this matter yet I was the VP for the whole of Kenya, it ought to have looked into it and that is why I consider the report full of falsehoods and hearsay,” he said.

Prof Saitoti further said police have never closed the file on the murder and it only meant investigations are still on.

“Those who knew the late Ouko know he was no doubt the finest foreign minister that the county has ever heard and it is unfortunate we lost him,” he said.

“Let the police and other investigators carry on,” he stated.

Agriculture minister Dr Sally Kosgei said Parliament would not have done justice to the matter if “it goes by what appears to be hearsay".

Nominated MP Ms Amina Abdalla, who was a member of the committee, said she joined the team after some members rejected their positions after expressing displeasure on the manner in which the chairman was handling the investigations.

She told the House the team experienced disagreements during investigations and at the stage of compiling the report.

“When we finally reached the point of making the report, there was disagreement that some recommendations were not supported by evidence that had been reached, that is why the report was even delayed, members had problems with accuracy,” the member said.

She argued that it would not be fair to adopt ‘such a report’ given that the process that led to its compilation had been riddled in disagreements.

“We need to conclude investigations and urge the House not to adopt it as it would be adopting inaccuracies and divert investigations to wrong directions,” she said.

The member said thorough investigations should be taken noting that most of the evidence that was gathered in camera needed further investigations.

Belgut MP Charles Keter urged the House to throw away the report given that a member of the committee that prepared it had indicated that the team was not united.

“It casts lots of doubt and credibility on the report and it is not in order to discuss such a report where a member casts doubt on the report,” he stated.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua, however, supported the report, arguing that its thrust was on the recommendation that further investigations be conducted.

The member said Parliament move a motion of amendment to expunge names that may have been put in the report unfairly but sustain the recommendations for further investigations and other findings that could aid in police investigations.

“Parliament has no mechanisms to investigate fully and cannot say x was guilty and y was innocent, some names may be put there unfairly and we can move to remove them but not kill the entire report because we still have unfinished business, we have never found out who murdered the late Ouko,” she said.

“We still need to find out who committed the murder,” she stated.

She argued that criminal investigations can never be conducted by Parliament. “That belongs to the CID and other law enforcement departments, but Parliament can look at how the matter was handled, in Ouko’s case, investigations have never been thorough,” she said.

Konoin MP Dr Julius Kones and Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto said the report was not credible and should be withdrawn and another select committee formed to conduct a fresh investigation.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, who moved a motion to adopt the report, argued that the mandate of the committee was very clear and it was properly before the House.

“Let the truth be told and the guilty continue to be afraid but the culture of impunity must be brought to an end,” he stated.

“The report says the government should institute fresh investigations, what harm is there to call for fresh investigations? I urge the government machinery to move in and conduct investigations.”

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