Africa

Kenya truth commission 'will recommend prosecutions'

A Kenyan flag and knife held aloft after elections in December 2007
Image caption About 1,500 people were killed in the aftermath of disputed polls in 2007

A long-awaited report investigating violence and human rights abuses in Kenya will recommend some prosecutions, one of its authors has told the BBC

Ahmed Sheikh Farah said the Truth Reconciliation and Justice Commission had looked at past injustices going back to independence in 1963.

It was set up following deadly post-election clashes five years ago.

Mr Farah said the report would be published once it was formally handed over to new President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Kenyatta, who won elections in March, has himself been charged by the International Criminal Court with orchestrating some of the violence in 2007/8 when some 1,500 people were killed and more than 300,000 forced to flee their homes. He denies the charges.

'Victims will be happy'

The mandate of the commission has been to investigate and recommend appropriate action on human rights abuses committed between Kenyan independence in December 1963 and the end of February 2008 - including politically motivated violence, assassinations, corruption and land disputes.

Mr Farah said the report had been ready to be handed over to the president since Thursday, 2 May - but the commission had been unable to get an appointment at State House owing to Mr Kenyatta's busy schedule.

"I'm told by the attorney general that so long as our report is dated 2 May it can be handed over even next week or any other time," Mr Farah told the BBC.

He said he could not reveal details about the recommendations until its formal publication.

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Media captionRaila Odinga interview

But the commission's mandate meant there had to be an element of justice "to satisfy the victims", he said.

"It was a victim-centred process, so I think that the victims will be happy with this," Mr Farah said.

"Some will [face prosecution], we have recommended some people for that, but remember also that we have been centred on reconciliation - healing, unity that kind of focus."

Mr Farah, who said the report's recommendations were mandatory, is one of five Kenyans on the commission; three other members come from Ethiopia, the US and Zambia.

The deadline for submitting its report to the country's president has already been extended once by six months.

Raila Odinga, who was prime minister in the last power-sharing government and lost presidential elections in March, admitted the process had faced several delays. The report should have been handed over to ex-President Mwai Kibaki.

"But it was felt it might be too explosive and it might have consequences in the elections," he told the BBC's Newsday programme.

'Pent up anger'

The former prime minister, who spent six years in detention under ex-President Daniel arap Moi, said he did not fear the report as he had nothing to hide.

Image caption Mr Kenyatta has called the election a "triumph of democracy"

"If they have anything against me I will be prepared to listen to it," he said.

"People are not expecting bombshells; people are expecting the truth. As you know sometimes the truth is bitter but the Bible says that the truth shall set us free," Mr Odinga said.

"Let us for once not continue to gloss over these injustices which have actually contributed to our pent up anger," he said.

"We want these to come out so that our society can reconcile and move forward as one united nation."

Speaking about his election defeat, Mr Odinga said it had come to terms with the disappointment of losing.

"I'm a sportsman and I know that these games can only have two outcomes."

He now even felt happy, he said.

"It's as if a huge load has been lifted from my back, I now feel very relieved."

Mr Kenyatta faced criticism from Western diplomats for seeking the presidency because of the charges he faces at the ICC.

But Mr Odinga said he saw no reason why the charges should interfere with his rival's ability to run the country.

"Kenyans can actually scale the stairs and chew the gum at the same time. I do not think that being charged actually interferes with the discharge of duties of the president," he said.

Mr Kenyatta is expected in the UK next week at the invitation of the British government to attend a conference on Somalia's future.

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