Monday, October 28, 2013

HALTING UHURU AND RUTO’S CASES IS DELAYING JUSTICE AND PERPETUATING IMPUNITY

Not many Kenyans are happy to see their President hounded in a foreign court for the worst crimes against humanity. However, the more we think deeper, the more we also reminisce the tragedy of post election violence and therefore, yearn to know exactly what happened, who caused the horror, and why?

Being a member of the Rome Statute in a Continent muddled with political upheavals, impunity and atrocities; which often affect the common citizens, it’s like having medical insurance to cover hospital bills when an illness occurs. Therefore, The ICC is a safeguard for justice and protection to the common citizens.

African leaders wrong on ICC

The recent chorus by African leaders who congregated in Addis Ababa for the AU Summit did a total disservice to their nations and Africa. Many Kenyans wonder where our next door neighbour, and one of the longest serving African presidents, Yoweri Museveni, was when our Country was smouldering as a result of the post election violence.

Pursuing for the deferral or a halt to the ICC cases facing the Kenyan leaders, as shown that President Museveni of Uganda is not fair even to his own people who continue to suffer untold misery as a result of Joseph Kony; an ICC indictee, who is also the leader of the Lords Resistance Army. Besides, the memories of torture meted by the regime of late President Idi Amin in 1970s is still fresh in the memories of many Ugandans and the World.

Secondly, I wonder where the Rwandan President Paul Kagame was during Kenya’s darkest moments during the post election violence; only to emerge from nowhere to support a move which if it succeeds, will put Kenya’s democratic gains and fighting impunity in dire straits.
Mr. Kagame has forgotten the genocide in his country where closer to one million Tutsis were slaughtered by the Hutus in 1994. He should be the last person to castigate the work of The ICC.

How soon do we forget Kenyans? Why are we allowing the charges facing Ruto and Uhuru at the ICC to ruin the future of our Country? Are the three accused larger than 40 million Kenyans or they have a superior human genome than the Post Election Victims?

Even our MPs who saw the role played by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to trigger a truce between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki, to pave the way for a coalition government in 2008 are now hurling insults at the global diplomat.

Kenya’s security under Uhuru absence

Many Kenyans don’t buy the view that while President Uhuru Kenyatta, will be attending his trial at the ICC; his absence from the Country may jeopardize our national security especially the war on terror. For me, this is an oblique argument fronted by government sycophants and purveyors of impunity.

By the way, did the President protect us recently when terrorists attacked the Westgate? Was he not comfortably relaxing in State House; enjoying our taxes?

Besides, Kenyans have not forgotten that the Jubilee government and Kenya’s intelligence service were privy of an impending attack but failed to put up contingency measures.

The President will be tried as a regular citizen in the name of Uhuru Kenyatta and its high time he paddled his own canoe instead of dragging millions of Kenyans into his predicament. He contested for higher office knowing very well that he had serious charges in an international court.

President Uhuru doesn’t need to worry much about the security of Kenyans because he is not God. After all, he failed to protect us recently. He is not the police, the defense forces, the navy and the air force.

A cry for Justice

A cry for justice and end to impunity by Kenyans does not imply that Uhuru, Ruto or Sang are guilty of the charges they face at The ICC. In fact, whichever outcome the cases will take, even if it yields to an acquittal, it will be a shy of relief to the post election violence victims.

It dents many Kenyans’ hearts when the nation is imbued with a chorus of protecting two individuals- the president and his deputy from trials when over 1000 people were butchered with almost a million displaced. Uhuru and Ruto have never mentioned anything about the post election violence victims in their usual war drums against the ICC. Not even their supporters especially members of Parliament.

We need to remember that if Uhuru fails to cooperate with the ICC, he will still hang on as our President but the repercussions will be dire to the nation. This is when the real rain will start beating us in all spheres- economically, socially and politically.

Having a President who is a fugitive will be a recipe for dictatorship and perpetuation of impunity. Ask yourself if Omar al-Bashir of Sudan will ever allow free and fair elections in his country; leave alone providing a conducive atmosphere for an effective political opposition?

Kenyans are waiting with bated breath come next month when President Uhuru is supposed to travel to The Hague to for his trial. Justice delayed is justice denied. That is why I personally don’t see the logic for the African Union (AU) to have petitioned the United Nations Security Council for the postponement of the trials for a period of one year.

Why can’t they tell us what Kenya would achieve in one year if the trials are postponed? Secondly, those pressing the ICC to drop the charges altogether and bring the cases to an end haven’t told us what mechanisms they have put in place to compensate or offer reparations to the victims as a way of pacifying the nation!

Where on earth does a court of law yield to the dictates of an accused person? After all, Uhuru and Ruto are judged as individuals; not with their families, community and nation.

For purposes of fairness and justice, The ICC recently provided a detailed memo stating that the President and his deputy are accused as individuals and not based on their current status.

Using non ICC members as scapegoats

Those against the trials of Ruto, Uhuru and Sang have been making pronouncements which lack merit. For instance, isn’t it weird to question why the USA is not a member of the ICC, and that George Bush and Tony Blair committed genocide during the second Gulf War? Are the three Kenyans accused by the USA and Britain or by The ICC; a court which Kenya is a signatory to its founding?

The USA or the European Union has got nothing to do with the displacement and killing of innocent Kenyans during the post election violence in 2007/2008.
The time to put Kenya on a better footing is now where the mighty must face the rule of law. We are tired of hounding chicken thieves to jail and leaving the big guys.

If Kenyan fails this time, then these words by the late Francis Imbuga, in his play Betrayal in the City, will carry greater meaning: “it was better while we waited; we have killed our past and are busy killing our future.” Imbuga provides a glimpse on the characters of African dictatorship and how they have turned the fruits of the independence struggle into a mirage.

Monday, October 14, 2013

WHY PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA MUST ATTEND THE ICC TRIALS?

By Gordon Teti Ontario, Canada

While it is a fact that he was not validly elected by the Kenyan voters, what is factual is that during the presidential campaign debate, Uhuru Kenyatta was particularly asked not to vie for the presidency until he clears his name with the ICC.

During the entire campaigns including the presidential debates, Uhuru categorically and emphatically stated that the ICC case against him was a personal challenge and that at no point would he drag the entire nation into the case. He also promised the electorate that he would abide by the dictates of the ICC.

Six months after he forced himself into the office of the presidency of Kenya, Uhuru is telling Kenyans and the world that since his position has changed, he is not dealing with the ICC as Uhuru Kenyatta but as the President of Kenya, which is contrary to what he told the voters while campaigning for the same office.

To some people, it may appear as a sudden thought that Uhuru has realized the ICC case against him is no longer a personal challenge but to many this was the card that Uhuru hid under the table during the presidential campaign. Uhuru forced himself to the presidency to shield him from the ICC trials and the chicken have come home to roost with Uhuru declaring both in words and actions that Kenya is now part and parcel of what was hitherto a “personal issue” and he no longer wants to co-operate with the ICC.

Since forcing himself to the presidency, Uhuru has used every government resource available to him, including courting the African dictators like Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame, Robert Mugabe, to mention but a few, to subvert the course of justice by avoiding the ICC trials altogether. Uhuru almost succeeded in rallying the whole of the African dictators behind him thanks to massive personal wealth and government resources that has been used in bribing of the African dictators.

However, last Saturday, October 12, 2013 during the AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Uhuru suffered a setback when many of the African big men who had previously pledged their support for mass withdrawal from the Rome statute that created the ICC developed cold feet like they did before when they abandoned Muamar Ghadaffi of Libya. The move left Uhuru with only Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Omar Al Bashir of Sudan as the only two die hard lords of impunity who are still clawing ferociously at ICC for obvious reasons. Both are suspected of mass murder, rape and genocide of their own citizens and as for Al Bashir, he has been indicted by the ICC.

The African dictators are using the principle of sovereignty in their crusade against the ICC while the reality is that it an attempt to insulate them against acts of Impunity. The question is, in the unlikely event that this ill campaign is granted, does it mean the African dictators can kill and maim while in office because they are immune to prosecution?

The Rwanda genocide of 1994 is still very fresh in our collective memories. In one voice, the world must unreservedly guard against the leadership of countries that may wittingly use the caveat of “sovereignty” and “immunity for sitting presidents” to discredit the ICC in an attempt to circumvent retributive justice.

When we all know that Omar Al Bashir of Sudan was indicted when in office, it is completely wrong for Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary and the other government mandarins and sycophants of Uhuru Kenyatta to lie to Kenyans that it is unconstitutional for Uhuru to be prosecuted at ICC.

With the consequences of non-compliance with the Rome Statute so clear and decisively biting, Kenyans dread that their great country may be turned into a Harare or Khartoum. I am hopeful that like Harare and Khartoum, Kenyans will willingfuly accept to become collateral damage in the event Uhuru refuses to co-operate with the court.

This is why Kenyans of goodwill MUST not only exhort but demand from Uhuru that since this is his personal matter, he is obligated to go to ICC and defend himself. Uhuru has nothing to neither fear nor worry about if he has evidence of witness tampering and couching as he has said thousands of times. All Uhuru has to do is to go to ICC and prove his innocence.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

SENATOR SONKO'S BEHAVIOUR IS A SHAME TO NAIROBI VOTERS


by Joseph Lister Nyaringo
Atlanta, Georgia
I don’t envy Senator Sonko’s spirit of giving or benevolence but, it’s high time we called a spade a spade not a big spoon. Giving or no giving, Sonko is not fit to lead the City as a Senator. His actions speak volumes about his capacity to make sound and effective legislative decisions on behalf of Nairobians in the Senate.
If we put aside the Senator’s philanthropic nature, and look at leadership, the affable and generous Sonko is totally unfit for elective office. I’m sure there are hundreds of people he has helped but still feel the Senator he has gone overboard.

From illegally recording a conversation he held with KNUT Secretary General Mudzo Nzili, and insulting radio journalist Carol Muthoko, to assaulting and allegedly dubbing Rachel Shebesh’s conversation with the political opposition, it’s just too much for a leader. I’m sure; Sonko has violated the law by recording conversations without the other parties’ consent.

Who will trust Sonko when he is out to record even toilet conversations and use it to score political points and fix political opponents? Even President Uhuru Kenyatta and other Jubilee leaders should be very careful with Sonko’s surreptitious character.

I’m not an admirer of Rachel Shebesh’s political styles, but I think Sonko is out to damage the Women Representative’s credibility in the Jubilee government.
I implore Kenyan voters to “THINK TWICE” before they vote. Money is good but Sonko cannot feed the whole nation even for a one-day breakfast.

No wonder, Carol Muthoko of Kisii 100, was right for questioning how Sonko intends to ensure that, the people he helps can sustain themselves after his handouts.

Voters need to vote for men and women who are capable of making sense in leadership as well as sound legislative decisions through effective debate. If we fail to do effective vetting on those vying for elective office, we will continue to be a tired nation in socio- economic development.

We need to disallow ourselves from being enslaved by rich politicians whom we don’t even question the source of their wealth.

As voters, let us not completely lose our moral campus because of poverty. Even if we are needy, it’s fair to critically question ourselves whether those we vote for as leaders have what it takes to represent us. Focusing only at what is in their wallets betrays our conscious.