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Cablegate: Tjrc Update

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DE RUEHNR #0106 0192241
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R 191100Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0475
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
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RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS NAIROBI 000106

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KE
SUBJECT: TJRC Update

1. Summary: The Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission
(TJRC) is still in the process of organizing itself and
interviewing and hiring staff. On January 24 Commissioners will set
off from Nairobi on a 60 day tour of the nation to inform Kenyans
about the commission and its mandate; three weeks later "statement
takers" will follow behind conducting interviews, a process that
will take six months. As statements are taken the Commissioners
will begin reviewing them, and they anticipate beginning to hold
hearings in March based on the initial statements that are taken.
End Summary.

2. The Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission is still in
the process of organizing itself and interviewing and hiring staff.
On January 12 the commission met with officials from the Ministry
of Finance to discuss the commission's proposed KES 2 billion
(approximately USD $ 27 million) 18 month operational budget that
would carry them through to the end of their mandate in July 2011.
(Note: By way of comparison the South African process cost $56
million, while the exercise in Peru cost $28 million. End Note). A
Commissioner told us that based on the meeting with the Ministry of
Finance he anticipates the Commission will receive approximately 80
percent of its budget request, an amount fully sufficient for the
Commission to complete its mandate given the overinflated initial
budget.

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3. On January 18 the Commission will interview the top seven
candidates for the position of Executive Secretary, who will be the
chief administrative officer in charge of actually running the
commission. The commission has advertized for 25 top positions
covering all administrative functions, from researchers to data
analysts. Overall the Commission intends to hire approximately
130 full time staff, 300 "statement takers," and 50-60 temporary
staff who will be mainly engaged during the hearing phase of the
Commission's work. A Commissioner told us, "We are into business
now in earnest." (Note: The TJRC was formally established August 5,
2009 for a period of two and a half years. Its recommendations are
binding by law, and it has the authority to create a leave-behind
organization to monitor implementation, which the GOK is legally
required to do. End Note).

4. After working since December on administrative matters and
hiring, the Commissioners plan to embark January 24 on a 60-day
tour of the nation. They will hold open sessions for the purpose
of explaining to the people their mandate, which is vast, and
includes any wrongs, grievances, or illegal actions from
independence through the period of post-election violence in early
2008. The Commission is not a tribunal and cannot dispense
justice, but they can and will make recommendations for the purpose
of victims achieving justice and reconciliation. They will begin
holding open sessions in Coast Province, followed in order by North
Eastern, Eastern, Rift Valley, Central, Nyanza, Western, and
Nairobi. Beginning three weeks later (approximately mid-February),
and following on the itinerary of the Commissioners, "statement
takers" will start holding information gathering sessions and
recording statements. It is expected to take the "statement
takers" six months to complete their work. However, the Commission
will begin reviewing statements as they are gathered, and beginning
in March they will start holding hearings based on the initial
statements they have reviewed.

5. Comment: As with its proposed budget, the TJRC's mandate is
bloated and unfocused. The Commission has not resolved whether it
will focus on justice (as many commissioners hope) or
reconciliation (as Chairman Bethwel Kiplagat tends to emphasize).
Revisiting all wrongs since independence is clearly unworkable, and
Kiplagat's role as chairman has proven controversial given his past
as a senior official in the notoriously abusive Moi regime. End
comment.
RANNEBERGER

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