I commend Uhuru Kenyatta’s writers for drafting a masterpiece speech but he was desperate to find sympathy in a hall crowded with some potential ICC inductees


Ugandans at heart,
If you are driving along the highway with the rest of traffic, and the patrolman pulls you over for speeding, will you really ask him why he singled you out for citation while he let the other motorists to continue with their speed?

I read President Kenyatta’s speech, and I commend his writers for drafting a masterpiece speech.But, however combative Uhuru was at that AU meeting, his speech rang hollow when analysed against his own immediate background and Kenya’s checkered history with the West.

Not long ago, during the campaigns, Uhuru dismissed the ICC matters as “personal challenges” and pledged to Kenyans that he and his deputy would juggle their official duties and attend the ICC cases without a hitch. He tacitly allowed his minions to promote the notion that it was Raila who proded the ICC to indict him. Suddenly, those “personal challenges” have turned into a major Kenyan problem that handcaps him and his deputy from executing their duties.

In that AU speech, Uhuru came close to vindicating Raila over the ICC cases.He said that one of the proposals Kenya had in addressing the PEV was to institute a local tribunal to seek justice for the victims. However, since squabbling among leading Kenyans continued to frustrate that idea, the government decided to take up the second option. That option, Uhuru said, was to allow the AU-appointed meditator, Kofi Annan to refer the case to the ICC.

In short, Uhuru was saying that since Kenyans were unable to agree on how to try the cases at home, they authorized Annan, who had been appointed by the AU, to send the case to the Hague.

The empty portion of Uhuru’s speech covered his own view of the role Kenya has played in Africa’s liberation. Here, he exaggerated for maximum effect in an attempt to cast his predicament as a harbinger of what will befall other African leaders.

Kenya was never an active player in the liberation struggles in Africa. Even as late as the 1980’s, Kenya was expelling ANC refugees, while trading with Apartheid regime down south. Even our own much-discredited Idi Amin was more influential in the liberation of Southern Africa than both Uhuru’s father and president Moi.

So, for Uhuru to launch such a loud attack against the west for what he sees as neo colonialism was act of dishonesty and a juvenile exhibition of poor understanding of international affairs. In fact, today’s Sunday Nation newspapers in a sensible editorial, pretty much told him off.

The AU audience itself is also self-contradictory: while they profess non-interference in internal affairs of others’ countries, they don’t see the problem here of interfering in Kenya’s internal affairs. Uhuru was misled in that speech, and he’s being misled by his peers at AU in taking a rabid stance against the ICC.

His bombastic attacks on US and UK might also come back to bite him. Either for poltical expediency or as is his character, Uhuru was not forthcoming with the source of his ICC problems during the campaigns.

And in fact, what Ambassador Jonny Carson said (elections have consequences) was no different from what Martha Karua had said earlier that electing UhuRuto would create major constitutional headaches for the country that might make governing impossible.

But now that those warnings have come to bear, Uhuru is desperate to find sympathy in a hall crowded with some potential ICC inductees. And to endear himself to the AU, Uhuru had the temerity to play the collective victimization card, that his ICC problems are not his alone, but rather a wider scheme by western powers to sabotage independent leaders in Africa.

Luck for him, Uhuru still finds some lazy, non-thinking thinkers in our midst, who swallow his nonsensical attempt at combative defense without chewing it.

I would rather we build the necessary capacity in Africa to handle such cases. But since the alleged crimes were committed when such a capacity has not been established, and since Kenya did not want the case tried locally, then the Hague was the only option, as President Uhuru explained at the AU.

Now, if we had reasonable leaders, at that AU meeting, there would have proposals coming from there to launch some initiative to start a continental legal apparatus that would handle future cases. But, as usual, all we got from the talking heads at AU just another disappointment.

By the time a continental court is constituted, all subscribing members will have agreed to cede some jurisdictional authority to it. Moreover, a court of that magnitude only covers specific cases. Its location should not be an issue; it can be housed right there at AU headquarters.

My overriding skepticism about the functionality of such a court is Africa’s time-honored adherence to tribalism and other sectarianism. That court will be reduced to arbitrating religious wars between Muslims and Christians, tribal disputes elevated as serious crimes, and all sorts of trivialities.

The current ICC is the best arena to handle cases that overwhelm states. And, I’m quite sure, that had Uhuru lost the elections, there hardly would be any grumblings from Africa about the overreach of this Court.

Members of Kenya parliament (MPs) have told off former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan over his warning to Kenya not to pull out of ICC. BUT Whoever sides with these MPs is an idot. Annan did not bring ICC to Kenya; Kenyans brought ICC unto themselves.I can’t control what some people want to attribute Kofi Annan, but I have followed the debacle that we now know as “Kenyans at The Hague”, especially where the same Annan and Raila strongly advised Kenya against forwarding this case to the ICC. The rallying chorus from some of these same MPs was, “Let’s not be vague, let’s go to the Hague.”

Edward Pojim

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Comments

One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Simon,

    Edward Pojim,

    My African relatives (the presidents) never miss the mark when it comes to failing to reason. How they gang against the West, the very place they run for treatment and to hoard the loot they grab from their countries. And they amuse me when they ask ICC not to try sitting presidents suggesting that they could be tried after leaving office. Imagine that, that after leaving office! They know that they would escape trial because they don’t leave office, they will do anything but not to leave office; they rig elections and if ICC allowed their request hoping that they would wait till they get out of office, our leaders would get good reasons to stay put!

    Back to Uhuru Kenyatta’s case. I can understand how disturbing to lead at the same time answering charges but, he committed the crimes he is accused of before ascending to the high office;. It would even be worse if he committed those crimes while in office. Leaders have contractual obligations to serve and safe guard their wards, not to harm or abuse their rights, in short any any leader that commits similar crimes Kenyatta is alleged to have committed should be severely punished, even 200 years in jail would not be enough. Leaders are supposed to serve their subjects and protect them.

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu made a good observation about those advocating for withdrawal for ICC and my brother Koffi Anan equally made a good rejoinder, that our leaders will done “Badges of Shame” if they indeed pull out of the ICC! We shall decorate them with those badges, I would love to see George Okello decorating Gen. Museveni and Gen. Otafire with those colourful badges.

    And our leaders want us to respect them? I will fear them instead.

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