Bethuel Kiplagat

Former Chairman of Kenya's Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission

Biography: National Christian Council of Kenya, 1971-78; Ambassador to France, 1978-81; High Commissioner to UK, 1981-83; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1983-91; Chair, Board of the African Medical and Research Foundaton, 1991-03; Kenya’s Special Envoy to the Somalia peace process, 2003-05; Commissioner, Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, 2009-10

Commentary: Bethuel Kiplagat worked with Kenya’s National Christian Council of Kenya from 1971-78. A Kalenjin, he served in ex-President Daniel arap Moi’s government for thirteen years from 1978-1991, as Kenya's Ambassador to France and then High Commissioner to Britain between1978-83. He then was appointed as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Robert Ouko from 1983-1991 until the latter's torture and murder, apparently by allies of President Moi.

Those critical of the Moi government's investigations into Ouko's death have criticised Kiplagat for not doing more to press the issue; they also raise questions about his relations with British business man Tiny Rowland and his Lonrho conglomerate, and the Mozambican rebel group, Renamo.

Kiplagat left government in 1991 to concentrate on business and civic work: he chaired the Board of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and then the Nairobi Stock Exchange until 2003. From 2003-2005, he was Kenya’s Special Envoy on the Somalia peace process and worked on other peace initiatives in the region. He is the Executive Director of the Kenya-based, the Africa Peace Forum and Concerned Citizens for Peace and formerly was Chancellor of Edgerton University.

Internationally, Kiplagat's reputation was high:  Chairman of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), on the Board of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and then appointed Chairman of Kenya's Truth Justice and Reconciliation Committee in August 2009. He held this position until he was forced to resign after allegations in the Ndung’u Report of Kiplagat illegally acquiring land, accusations in the Parliamentary Select Committee’s report into Foreign Minister Robert Ouko’s murder in 1990, accusing Kiplagat of being ‘untruthful’ in his testimony to them, and writings alleging he had a role in the Wagalla Massacre in Kenya’s North Eastern Province, where security forces murdered around 3,000 Kenyan Somali Muslims in 1984. He resigned in November 2010.


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Vol 51 N0 9


Bye bye Betty

Two weeks earlier, Murungi had withdrawn from her post as TJRC Vice-Chair, after calling with fellow Commissioner Ronald Slye for the resignation of the TJRC’s Chairman and veteran political fixer, Bethuel Kiplagat (AC Vol 51 No 7)...

Vol 51 N0 7


Kiplagat's truth

The mounting pressure on Bethuel Kiplagat, the Chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, after the resignation of its deputy head Betty Murungi on 29 March, raises new doubts about the TJRC's future...

Vol 51 N0 5


Truth and Kiplagat

The position of Bethuel Kiplagat, Chairman of Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, is under serious threat since the calls for his resignation by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ten other heads and members of earlier truth commissions...

Vol 50 N0 16


The hard road to truth, justice and reconciliation

A controversial appointment Many regard the question of Bethuel Kiplagat's independence as fundamental...

Vol 50 N0 7


A reform deadline for the rivals

The success of last year's mediation process - a joint venture between Kenyan diplomats such as Bethuel Kiplagat (known for his work in Mozambique), General Lazarus Sumbeiywo and foreign mediators such as Annan - emphasised Kenyans' lack of trust in their own institutions...

Vol 48 N0 24


The wrong report

This would parallel the Somali evaluation: Bethuel Kiplagat, once a key official in President Daniel arap Moi's regime, was involved in both the Somali process and its evaluation...

Vol 46 N0 20


Bad marriage vows

Interior: Aleu Ayieny Aleu, SPLM; from Tonj; outspoken ex-commander; head of de-mining NGO Save Innocent Lives (patron saint: Kenya's Bethuel Kiplagat)...

Vol 45 N0 8


Rebirth pains

Two new members have recently been added to the panel: Algeria's Mourad Medelci and Kenya's Bethuel Kiplagat, adding weight to the initial five, Cameroon's Dorothy Njeuma, Mozambique's Graça Machel, Nigeria's Adebayo Adedeji, Senegal's Marie-Angelique Savan, and South Africa's Chris Stals...

Vol 44 N0 4


Musyoka's message

Musyoka echoed Washington's optimism for a peace deal in Sudan by July but was much less optimistic about the Somali talks which are now being run by Moi-era senior diplomat Bethuel Kiplagat, who played a leading role in Mozambique's peace talks a decade ago...

Vol 39 N0 1



Sudan’, the former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Bethuel Kiplagat, was there...

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