Leaders from Mt. Elgon region and the larger Bungoma County want the report of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) implemented.
The leaders who met in Nakuru this week to agree on a long lasting peace formula said implementation of the report will address historical injustices in the region which they identified as drivers of violence in the region.
The Mt. Elgon region has been making headlines since 2006 following atrocities committed by the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF). Commentators have identified competition for land as the major cause of the conflict and negative ethnicity as its driving force.
In 2009 the government was blamed of extra judicial killings while countering the SLDF in a report by Philip Alston, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
On the other hand the TJRC report made a raft of recommendations on how to deal with historical injustices committed on Kenyans from independence to the February 2008 when former President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga agreed to a power sharing deal as a way of ending the blood bath of the post 2007 general election.
The report was presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta 3 years ago but has never been implemented. The report is with Parliament. However, only two recommendations were made during the President’s state of the nation address last week. He apologized for all past atrocities by previous governments and directed Treasury to set up a sh10B fund to compensate victims of Post Election Violence.
Meeting under the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) the leaders also recommended investigations of what they termed as ongoing allegations on human rights abuses in the region. They also agreed to engage former and current political leaders on constructive dialogue for sustainable peace and development.
The peace plan also called for the prosecution of all leaders and aspirants found to have violated spirit of the Constitution on leadership and integrity. Such leaders they say should barred from contesting any elective position or even appointed to public offices.
The meeting as led by the Commission’s Chair Francis Ole Kaparo and was attended by area current and former legislators John Serut and Fred Kapondi respectively. Commissioners Morris Dzoro and Gitile Naituli were also present.
Among the resolutions was also a commitment to embrace non-violent means in managing political differences and in resolving communal conflicts.
All leaders found engaging in hate speech and funding violent activities should be arrested and prosecuted, the leaders also agreed.
Other resolutions are: the profiling and settlement of all squatters and internally displaced persons (IDP’s) in the region; sharing of community resources including jobs equally and a commitment by leaders to support community disarmament by the police and the military.
Past experiences on arriving at communal peace deals have shown that they at times remain as resolutions without being implemented. The challenge thus lies among the leaders to remain true to the recommendations.