ICC Withdrawal: A Great Goof by Kenya

Published on 24th December 2010

The decision by Kenya parliamentarians to pull out of the International criminal Court (ICC) does not do Kenya good in any sense. Sadly, it paints Kenya as an outlaw and rogue state in the making. What makes this a blow is the fact that the MPs who supported the move obviously did it under the tantrums and fears of the international transparent judicial system that knows not the influence or history of the culprit.

A cabal of influential people engineered this simply because a few of theirs  were mentioned in the famous Ocampo Six namely: Uhuru Kenyatta (Deputy PM and Finance minister), William Ruto (Former Higher Education Minister), Francis Muthaura), head of the civil service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Henry Kosgey, (Industrialisation Minister), Major General  Mohamed Hussein Ali current Poster master and former IGP and Joshua arap Sang (Kalenjin KASS FM presenter of a morning phone-in show, ‘Lene Emet’ (How is the country?)

Looking at the names featuring on ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's list, one notes that, all except Sang, are but big fish.  Before the eyes of MPs, these are even better than over 1,000 Kenyans that lost their lives in the post-elections chaos. They are not only  big fish, but also, for some,  right -hand men of current principals. The fact that Ocampo's scissors cut right in the middle of the coalition government forced the principals as well as their sycophants to devise the method out of this legal quagmire though a bit too late.

No one imagined that Kenya would commit a crime of such magnitude in the first place. One would believe and think that politicians would even feel pity for allowing the 2007 mayhem to happen. Who was behind it if not the same politicians that are today pulling Kenya out of ICC so as to save their skin? This implies how collectively guilty  politicians are, though not all. Their acts betray the conspiracy behind the 2007 mayhem. Kenyans should not rally behind double-faced leaders whose agenda is nothing but to save their faces and partners in crime.

What reason does Kenya give to pull out of  the Rome statutes apart from impunity and corruption?  That the US once did that? Is it fair to compare US with Kenya in the first place? The US is financially and economically independent, sound and free whilst Kenya is, comparably, but just a pauper-cum- beggar. Even if the US did the same, why should we support and emulate criminality even if it is committed by the high and mighty?

It won't shock anybody to hear other African corrupt countries pulling from ICC so that when they rig and steal elections, they should not be brought to book. Kenyans who always have been champions of positive changes should nary consent to this.

The same MPs that shot down two motions that wanted them to form a local tribunal to look into the matter are the same agitating for pulling out of ICC! When did they see light so as to, now, want the same thing they refuted and trashed? Is it because when the tribunal is formed and manned by local appointees of the president or whoever appoints them, it will be easily compromised Kenyan style as it happened in mega scandals such as Goldenberg, Anglo-Leasing, Dr. Robert Ouko, J.M Kariuki, Tom Mboya, G. Pinto and other massacres where culprits have ever been netted?

It disgusts to hear some MPs saying that Kenya is a sovereign country thus it should not allow her people to be tried outside. Why did she support other nationals such as Charles Taylor, Jean Pierre Bemba, Joseph Kony and other to  be tried there if what they mean is to be fair?  Why didn't  those advocating this carnage conceive this concept of sovereign when the mayhem was committed?  When Arusha based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was formed to secure the interests of the sovereign and to make sure that all culprits face justice, Rwandan authorities formed Gacaca to act concurrently with ICTR. Rwanda did not pull out of Rome Statute even when its president was implicated by a French judge.

Though Kenya was not referred to as a failed state, the 2007 sacrilege drove it to the verge of a failed state. The same international community it is now shunning is the only that came to their aid at this very trying time. Now she is out of the danger, MPs want it pulled out of ICC!

To pull Kenya out of ICC won't solve the problem. Instead, it will aggravate it thanks to being the work of mania and myopia. This being the case, Kenyans who love their country should not allow MPs on their behalf to commit this suttee. Kenya is more than the Ocampo Six.

Human rights activists should squeeze politicians to see to it that Kenya remains a signatory of Rome Statutes. For pulling out of ICC is nothing but sheer fear of politicians who think ICC might come again to seek other criminals that were not mentioned by Ocampo this time. Again, by pulling out, it means: Kenya aims at committing the same crime in the future. This is not a stance a civilized country like Kenya should take.

By Nkwazi Mhango

Canada based Tanzanian and author of Saa Ya Ukombozi.

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