Civil society leaders have been truly thrilled with the news that Bishop Tutu and 9 other former Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission leaders have called for Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat to step aside from his recent controversial appointment to such a role in Kenya by President Kibaki.
Now US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger is quoted as having stepped in to support the Kiplagat appointment. From the story entitled “Why Tutu and team told Kiplagat to resign” :
speaking to The Standard in Nairobi yesterday, Mr Ranneberger said Kiplagat was internationally recognised and capable of steering healing and reconciliation in Kenya.
His support comes at a time TJRC is expected to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs today, to discuss the calls for Kiplagat’s resignation.
Ranneberger cites Kiplagat’s role as in international negotiator. But Ranneberger instigated Kibaki’s appointment of Moi as envoy to Sudan back in mid-07. By this logic, why not appoint Moi to the TJRC?
The qualifications involved in the international diplomatic roles filled by Kiplagat in the past are simply different than what is called for in the TJRC position for a Kenyan today. The parties in foreign disputes who were dealing with Kiplagat didn’t care about his past dealings within Kenya as a member of the Moi government–Kenyans today care very much.
We have already seen the Kreigler Commission (the IREC) stop short of doing its job–if the TJRC is “the Kiplagat Commission” it will simply not be what is needed, and risks being like those other previous reports raising concerns about Kiplagat himself that did stop his appointment now. He is being reckless and irresponsible, in my estimation, by hanging on to this appointment when it is clear that he does not have the level of public confidence that is necessary.
It is very disappointing to see the Ambassador cutting at the feet of Kenyan Civil Society once again.