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.