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Shrill quest for amnesty misguided

Publication Date: 6/2/2008

THE CLAMOUR FOR AMNESTY and blanket pardon for the perpetrators of the post-election violence is misguided, immoral and cannot be justified in whatever context.

The aftermath of the mayhem continues to be felt across the country, and there can never be a greater insult to the victims than the ugly sentiments which some politicians are raising – calling for the release of the suspects.

It is not debatable that the role of any Government the world over is to provide leadership and maintain law and order.

To pretend that the circumstances of the arrest of the violence perpetrators can be at variance with clear constitutional provisions as regard to the administration of justice is a daydream.

It is the role of police to present suspects to courts and it is the business of the courts, based on the evidence adduced, to determine the guilt or otherwise.

Remedies for illegal confinement or false prosecution are in our law.

Heinous acts were perpetrated against the people of Kenya after December 30, 2007.

Criminals masquerading as political party supporters grossly abused the human rights of many Kenyans.

Unprecedented and senseless criminal acts were occasioned against innocent children, women and men.

Many people ended up in deplorable conditions and acquired a degrading name – IDPs. Women and children became widows and orphans and families wrecked.

Images of adult men and women were splashed in the print and electronic media committing despicable acts of barricading roads, uprooting railway lines, looting commercial enterprises and private homes, and  burning centres of religious worship.

Acts of anarchy like these ones have no place in a modern and civilised society, irrespective of whatever grievances the perpetrators were expressing.

The rule of law never takes a back seat at the convenience of individuals’ grievances.

FOR POLITICIANS TO DEMAND BLA-nket amnesty for “our boys who stood by us and blocked roads…” is an open admission that certain politicians sponsored violence and lawlessness against their fellow countrymen.

It is shameful for senior politicians in  Government to describe the suspects as democrats who fought for the eventual admission of ODM into the current coalition government.

The principles of democracy have never been in partnership with criminal activities designed to achieve political ends.

The arrest and prosecution of the financiers, warlords and principal authors of post-election violence should have happened yesterday.

Arguments that the arrest of suspects was selective cannot hold.

As a lawyer, I am aware of many youths from central Kenya who are in custody as suspects after the post-election chaos.

However, Kenyans are getting concerned that the suspects  are ordinary village and urban folks who ran errands for warlords.

This is an affront to justice. Certain individuals are sitting in Cabinet, Parliament and other privileged positions while their agents languish in custody.

The full force of the law should apply to all.

Justice must be seen to be done to both the victim and suspects of the post-election violence.

The chief justice should ensure that these judicial proceedings are expedited by creating special courts at the affected districts to strictly and continuously adjudicate post-election related cases.

The presiding officers should be appointed from the Judiciary, private legal sector and interest legal organisations.

Mr Kimani is a lawyer and executive director of Kisima Rural foundation, a charitable organisation.

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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