Former TJRC Chairman Bethuel Kiplagat passes on

Former TJRC Chairman Bethuel Kiplagat passes on

Former Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Chairman, Bethuel Kiplagat has died at the Nairobi Hospital after a long illness.

The long serving ambassador died at 3 am this morning with family confirming his body had been taken to the Lee Funeral Home.

His death becomes the fourth of a high profile personality within a month after those of former Laikipia Senator GG Kariuki, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and former Moi-era Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott.

Kiplagat served in numerous government positions as a diplomat including as Kenya’s Ambassador to France, High Commissioner to Britain, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1978 to 1991 in retired President Daniel arap Moi’s administration.

He also served as Kenya’s special envoy to the Somalia peace process from 2003 to 2005 and headed the board of the African Medical and Research Foundation from 1991 to 2003.

But Kiplagat was perhaps best known for his tenure at the helm of TJRC where he served for two stints as Chairman from 2009 to November 2010 and in 2012.

Appointed by former President Mwai Kibaki, the Commission was mandated to come up with recommendations on how to tackle post ethnic conflicts and political violence, including the 1982 coup d’etat, Shifta war and the post-election violence of 2007.

TJRC was also tasked with the investigation, analysis and reporting on causes of conflicts and gross human rights violations in the country since 1963 to 2008, including economic crimes, illegal acquisition of public land, maginalisation of communities, ethnic violence among others and recommend the way forward.

Kiplagat’s tenure at the commission was however riddled with controversy after he was widely mentioned over his involvement in the Wagalla Massacre, where over 3,000 members of the Degodia clan were killed in Wajir in 1984.

Then serving as Permanent Secretary in Foreign Affairs, Kiplagat was alleged to have a hand in the massacre as a planned security operation to recover firearms and discipline members from the clan got underway.

He was also adversely mentioned in the Ndungu Land Report, which raised questions over his legal ownership of two parcels of land in Kitale and Lavington.

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