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Kenya, punish the guilty

Yes, punish the killers

Publication Date: 3/21/2008

As the country seeks to heal from the trauma of the post-election violence, it must start addressing itself on the issue of the human rights abuses witnessed during the month-long violence.

Unless authorities are seen to be taking firm action against those who committed gross human rights violations, the culture of impunity will never end.

Impunity persists because those responsible for serious crimes often go free. This is the danger the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Louise Arbour, warned against in a recent report on Kenya.

The UN agency has also warned that it will not support the proposed Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission if it recommends amnesty for those who masterminded or bankrolled wholesale carnage.

Also among those who should be targeted for investigation and prosecution are the police officers accused of using excessive force to crack down on rioting mobs, and the bands of young men who blockaded roads, killed innocent people, burnt down property and engaged in other acts of lawlessness.

Of course, it cannot be forgotten that the violence was triggered by the results of the disputed presidential election results. Once the investigating team to be led by retired South African judge Johann Kriegler completes its work, those found to have manipulated the election results must also be made to pay.

This is the only way to send an unequivocal message that those who subvert national institutions do so at their peril.

Unless  measures are taken to punish the guilty and discourage would-be offenders, this country will in future pay a heavy price.

Write to the author

About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.


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