TJRC REPORT FINDINGS: Why you should vote opposition into power
Truth, justice and reconciliation commission (TJRC) was formulated in pursuant of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act No. 6 of 2008 with an objective of promoting peace, justice, national unity, healing, reconciliation and dignity among the people of Kenya.
TJRC reported their findings and recommendations on 3rd May 2013 to the seating President of the Republic of Kenya. Like many commission findings before it, TJRC report suffered the same fate of being put on a shelf and never to be touched again. None of the recommendations forwarded in the report were fully implemented by the ruling government.
The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act required TJRC to make findings in respect of gross violations of human rights inflicted on persons by the State, public institutions and holders of public office, both serving and retired, between 12 December 1963 and 28 February 2008.
Two parts of the key findings of the report which I will highlight below may substantiate why voting for opposition may be the best bet for our country’s future. By opposition, I refer to any aspiring government other than the ruling government.
Also Read: Kenya Youth More Tribal Than Their Parents
Historical Land Grievances
TJRC Report Findings: The Commission finds that historical grievances over land constitute the single most important driver of conflicts and ethnic tension in Kenya. Close to 50 percent of statements and memorandum received by the Commission related to or touched on claims over land.
Why the ruling government cannot resolve the issue.
Historical land grievances have been the major driver of ethnic tension in Kenya since independence. The problem resulted from the displacement of indigenous Kenyans from their lands when British colonialists took power.
In an earlier article http://www.kenyabrief.com/kenyan-youth-declaration-independence/ , we had stated what transpired following Kenya’s independence. United Kingdom gave funds to the Kenyatta government to buy land from the White settlers and give it back to the original owners – indigenous Kenyans.
With the realization that the real power resided in the land, it was not to be given back to the people but to only the ones in power and their friends. From that moment, the Kenyan people were robbed of their power to a better future.
TJRC found that land injustices were evident in both Kenyatta and Moi’s governments. I Quote:
“The Commission finds that between 1963 and 1978, President Jomo Kenyatta presided over a government that was responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights that included illegal and irregular acquisition of land by the highest government officials and their political allies.”
“The Commission finds that between 1978 and 2002, President Daniel Arap Moi presided over a government that was responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights that included illegal and irregular allocations of land.”
It is also evident that the ruling powers of Kenya since independent have emanated from the same ruling elite families and the trend may continue unless Kenyans decide otherwise. How can the perpetrators of the injustices be the same persons expected to solve the problem?
Adam Smith in his book Wealth of Nations stipulated land as one of the resources needed to be efficiently utilized to increase the wealth of a nation. With historical land grievances, rampant land grabbing and outstanding court cases, unresolved land issues continue to impede the growth of the wealth of our nation.
Change in government may be the only way to kick start a process that may resolve our land problems. It would be irrational to expect the ruling government to do anything substantial about these grievances.
Also Read: Kenya Youth Declaration of Independence
Marginalization of Regions in the Country
TJRC Report Findings: The Commission finds that during the mandate period the state adopted economic and other policies that resulted in the economic marginalization of five key regions in the country: North Eastern and Upper Eastern; Coast; Nyanza; Western; and North Rift.
Why the ruling government cannot resolve the issue.
The above stated regions have been marginalized since independence due to their political affiliations or their minority status.
North Eastern, Upper Eastern and North Rift regions which have the minority tribes have experienced political and economical marginalization since the colonial period. Regarded as part of the Northern Frontier region, the closed-area policy imposed by the colonial regime isolated the region from the rest of the country and made it impenetrable by ‘outsiders’. The same policy was adopted by the ruling governments after independence.
Moi tried to include the North Rift by grouping Kalenjins as a voting bloc. Though Rift valley votes as one bloc, resources are rarely allocated to the Northern part especially West Pokot and Turkana.
Nyanza, Coast and Western have suffered marginalization due to their political affiliations, strategic location and economic capability.
The disintegration of the Kikuyu-Luo coalition that formed the core of KANU at independence and the eventual fallout between Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta and first Vice-President Oginga Odinga in 1966 over differing visions for the country forms an important context to the marginalization of Nyanza.
Apart from Coast region suffering due to their political affiliations, the other marginalization factor arises from the confluence of interests on the region’s strategic value as a principal gateway to the country and the East and Central African region and its valued seafront land resources.
Marginalized regions form the larger part of opposition voters but they remain divided due to political influences.
The only promise of change may come from voting in the opposition into power. Kenya stands a better chance of liberation with the next president coming from the marginalized regions. After over fifty years of asymmetrical distribution of resources, five years would go a long way in elevating the political and economic status of the marginalized regions and the country as a whole.
Read the full TJRC report here: http://www.jfjustice.net/downloads/1460970274.pdf