From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Tutu commends Kenyans for starting to confront past

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Mon, 25 Aug 2003 17:30:53 -0400


Tutu commends Kenyans for starting to confront past

by Fredrick Nzwili
Ecumenical News International 

[ENS] Nairobi, 18 August (ENI)-- Former South African Anglican
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has commended Kenya's attempt to confront her
"painful" past through a truth commission, following the ousting of a
decades-long government in elections last December. 

"You have made a wonderful beginning. There is no question that with
your will, commitment, and prayer, you will succeed," said Tutu, who
chaired the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission that
investigated the apartheid era and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in

"But you should tread carefully and sensitively given the ethnic
differences in your country," cautioned Tutu in his inaugural address at
an international conference in Nairobi on truth commissions that took
place over the weekend. 

The conference, attended by world renowned professors, judges, members
from other truth and reconciliation commissions, and human rights
activists, was convened by a task force looking into the establishment
in Kenya of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission. 

The task force was set up following last December's elections that
defeated the ruling Kenya African National Union party, which had been
in power for 40 years and had faced allegations of corruption and human
rights abuses. 

"We need to establish a commission to reconcile with each other so that
we can find a way forward," Gideon Ireri, Anglican bishop of Mbeere told
ENI. Speakers insisted such a commission would not be a witch hunt, but
would seek fairness. 

Kenya's minister for constitutional affairs, Kiraitu Murungi, told the
conference on Friday that mechanisms such as truth commissions, known as
transitional justice, were inescapable for countries emerging from
decades of misrule. 

"We must develop an agenda for transitional justice in Kenya, in which
corruption and human rights abuses are ended," Murungi told the
conference. "The past must be confronted and impunity banished. The
truth must be known, perpetrators must be called to account, and victims
must be recognised and provided with redress." [326 words]

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