Call for amnesty dominates Rift Valley peace rallies
Published on April 26, 2008, 12:00 am
By Steve Mkawale
President Kibaki and Prime Minister Mr Raila Odinga took the peace and reconciliation campaign to the South Rift, where the regional leaders called for amnesty for suspected perpetrators of the post-election violence.
The leaders, led by Cabinet minister William Ruto, asked President Kibaki to offer amnesty to suspects arrested in connection with the violence.
“If we want to succeed in our peace efforts, we have to forgive each other first and then release youths who were arrested in connection with the violence,” said the Agriculture minister.
|President Mwai Kibaki confers with Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones on arrival at Kipkelion.
Picture: Lucas Thuo
Ruto told a peace and reconciliation rally at Kipkelion town that some suspects were innocent. Healing Process
“A number of innocent people are in custody. They should be freed so the healing process can begin,” said the Eldoret North MP.
Roads minister, Mr Kipkalya Kones, and Kipkelion MP, Mr Kiprono Langat, appealed to the Head of State to release some youths charged with petty offences related to the violence, that claimed 1,200 lives.
“Some were accused of petty offences. And as the first step in healing and reconciliation among the communities, the Government should release them,” said Kones.
The minister said locals should be allowed to carry out peace and reconciliation efforts at their own pace. “The State must not be seen to be pushing villagers to reconcile. Let elders, youths and others involved do it at their own pace,” said the Bomet MP.
Langat said the Kalenjin community supported the resettlement of the internal refugees on their farms. “Our leaders have agreed. We have no business fighting, while those who contested against each other have reconciled and are now working together,” said Langat.
Raila, when inviting the President to speak, said: “The President is here and he will respond to the call by the leaders.”
He said the leaders must find a lasting solution to the recurrent ethnic clashes.
“We must address the root cause of the violence that broke out in December. This must be done through the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission,” said Raila.
But when the President took the podium, he sidestepped the amnesty calls and instead concentrated on urging residentsto embrace peace.
“Let us go back to our farms and begin our normal lives,” said the Head of State.
He assured farmers that the Government would see that they fetched the best prices for their crops. Suffer losses
“We will give the best price for maize so farmers do not suffer losses after harvesting,” assured the President.
Noting that the country’s leadership had shelved individual interests to form the Grand Coalition Government for the sake of national cohesion, President Kibaki urged wananchi to emulate the example by joining hands to build the country.
“You should live peacefully as you used to before the elections. If we are united as a country, we will succeed in achieving our development goals and improve the country,” he said.
Vice-President, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, said the Government wanted the speedy resettlement of displaced people