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Ruto appoints professionals to investigate Shakahola mass deaths [List]

President William Ruto has appoined a team of eminent persons to investigate the Shakahola massacre comprising senior lawyers, preachers, doctors and other professionals.

President William Ruto speaks during the launch of the IOM Report on the Status of Migration in East and the Horn of Africa at KICC, Nairobi on May 2, 2023

President William Ruto, has appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the Shakahola tragedy, in which members of the Good News International Church in Kilifi County were subjected to torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and mass deaths.

In a gazette notice on Friday, May 5, President Ruto noted that the scale of the tragedy and the depravity of the actions committed against fellow citizens shocked the consciousness of the nation.

The commission of inquiry, appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act (Cap. 102), will be chaired by Hon. Lady Justice Jessie W. Lesiit, and will include;

  1. Lady Justice (Rtd.) Mary Muhanji Kasango,
  2. Eric Gumbo
  3. Bishop Catherine Mutua
  4. Dr Jonathan Lodompui
  5. Dr Frank Njenga
  6. Wanyama Musiambu
  7. Albert Musasia.
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The Joint Secretaries of the commission will be Oliver Kipchumba Karori and Rachel Maina, while Kioko Kilukumi will serve as Lead Counsel, with Vivian Janet Nyambeki and Bahati Mwamuye as Assisting Counsel.

The mandate of the commission of inquiry will be to investigate the deaths, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment of members and other persons linked to the Good News International Church in Kilifi County, establish the circumstances under which these incidents occurred, and identify the persons and organizations who bear the greatest responsibility for the Shakahola tragedy.

The commission will also recommend specific actions that should be taken against them, including admonition, regulatory actions, reparations, or recommendation for criminal investigation.

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In addition, the commission will inquire into the legal, institutional, administrative, security, and intelligence lapses that may have contributed to the occurrence of the Shakahola tragedy.

It will recommend legal, administrative, or other forms of accountability action against any public official whose actions or omissions are established to have willfully or negligently contributed to the occurrence of the tragedy.

The commission will also inquire into the factors that lead to the rise of that particular religious extremist institution, as well as the factors that give rise to such religious extremist institutions, cults, or occultist groups, and other formations that foster negative religion-based activities generally.

The commission will recommend legal, administrative, institutional, and regulatory reforms aimed at preventing the occurrence of future situations of deaths or gross violations of the rights and welfare of persons by religious extremist institutions, cults, or occultist groups, and other formations that foster negative religion-based activities.

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The commission will hold public hearings and may hold private hearings if necessary. It will summon any person concerned to testify on oath and to produce any books or documents that the commission of inquiry may require.

The commission will prepare and submit a report and its recommendations to the President within six (6) months from the date hereof.

The appointment of the commission of inquiry underscores the gravity of the Shakahola tragedy and the need for urgent action to prevent such incidents from happening again in Kenya.

The commission's recommendations are expected to inform legal, institutional, and regulatory reforms aimed at addressing the root causes of religious extremism and preventing the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.

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