Monday, 27 May 2013

Hon Koigi wa Wamere: Reasons Why Kenya Must Conduct A National Debate On ICC

Hon Koigi wa Wamere: Reasons Why Kenya Must Conduct A National Debate On ICC
By Hon Koigi wa Wamere via Facebook

When sometime ago, Johnny Carson of America told Kenyans that when they elect leaders accused at The Hague, their choices will have consequences, Kenyans sneered arguing it was their democratic right to elect whoever they want. But while Kenyans have a democratic right to elect whoever they want, other people have a democratic right to feel uncomfortable with them.
While it is Kenyans’ democratic right to elect a dictator into power, it is not right to do so and people should be allowed to object to such majority choices. Morally wrong majority choices should not be imposed on people by force. While the Hutu majority in Rwanda may have considered it their democratic right to embark on a course of genocide, that decision was disastrous and suicidal. Democratic choices are not always right.
Nearly two weeks ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta went to the UK and Prime Minister David Cameron refused to have a picture taken with him. This shunning of our president embarrassed some Kenyans, but others defended it.
After Cameron, tomorrow President Barack Obama of USA will embark on a trip to Africa but will not visit Kenya. Many Kenyans are sneering at this but it might have consequences on Kenya.
That Kenyans are numb to danger is very worrying. While the world is shunning our leaders accused of crimes against humanity, we are busy electing same persons as our President and Deputy President.
The collective soul of Kenyans is dead. Many people voted for Uhuru and Ruto to save them from The Hague because it is embarrassing for a country’s top leadership to be paraded at the ICC. But when election of Uhuru and Ruto did not lead to the termination of their cases, and Ruto appeared at ICC as the Deputy President of Kenya, neither Ruto nor Kenyans seem embarrassed by the spectacle. Some Kenyans even smiled at Ruto in The Hague as if that is the most normal thing that could happen to a self-respecting country’s leadership.
While it is Uhuru and Ruto that are on trial individually, the fact is as long as they are President and deputy president of Kenya, they will go into the ICC dock with the image of Kenya and Kenyans who shall share in the shame associated with crimes against humanity.
But rather than have a sober debate on ICC, when President Obama shuns us, we say we don’t care, same thing Moi and his supporters said when the world accused him of perpetrating one-party dictatorship and violation of human rights.
But who is championing our dismissal of ICC and defending our shunning by others? As the uninformed village tribalists shouted loudest in support of Presidents Moi and Kenyatta, it is the same ignorant supporters who are shouting loudest “our tribesman right or wrong,” “our tribal leader right or wrong.”
But if uninformed village tribalists will take the ICC debate no where, where are our informed patriots and nationalists to champion it? They are silent, cowed by concerns of futility, expedience, timidity and even comfort.
Notwithstanding, there are many reasons why Kenyans must now publicly, fearlessly and objectively debate the ICC trials of Uhuru, Ruto and Sang.
First, Kenyans must psychologically prepare for ICC trials rather than encourage ourselves that the trials will collapse or be terminated. While hoping for best, we must prepare for the worst.
Second, while championing justice for the accused, we must remember justice for victims of PEV, though many no longer think of their own interests.
Three, we must expect the world will not embrace Kenya while her President and Deputy President are in the dock at the ICC for crimes against humanity.
Fourth, should the western world decide to subject Kenya to economic sanctions, the nation must not think China will save her from hard times ahead.
Fifth, instead of encouraging, the state and media might inhibit debate on ICC unless people demand it.
Sixth, if ICC cases take off, Uhuru and Ruto will not attend to trials and simultaneously give Kenya effective leadership. If you target two preys, one will escape.
Seventh, when Uhuru and Ruto are forced to choose between their defense in The Hague and solving Kenya’s endless problems, they will prioritize their defense at the expense of Kenya.
Eighth, if The Hague cases go on, Uhuru and Ruto will naturally spend the next five years defending themselves, not developing Kenya.
Ninth, if Uhuru and Ruto decide to defy ICC and not attend trials, Kenyans must prepare for that defiance and not caught unawares.
Tenth, even if Kenya, government of Kenya, any community, President or his deputy are not on trial at ICC, but Uhuru and Ruto in their private capacities, the state might take over these cases and pay for them without authority of tax-payers.
Eleventh, the trials of Kenya’s President and his Deputy at The Hague will completely destroy Kenya’s reputation and image internationally and Kenyans must prepare for how bad they will look out there.
Twelfth, should Kenyans choose to stand with their President and deputy when they stand trial at The Hague, they will kill their soul not to smell the stench of crimes against humanity.
Thirteenth, by arguing against the trial of President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto on the ground that they won elections, we are killing the rule of law in Kenya, too high a price for their defense.
Fourteenth, when Uhuru and Ruto defend themselves at The Hague as President and Deputy President, they will be killing the principle of public officers stepping aside from office while they undergo trial to clear their names.
Fifteenth, fear of rejection by Western powers might weaken and force President and Deputy President to concede too much to them or even China, whose support now is crucial, in economic negotiations. Kenya will lose more when Uhuru and Ruto defend themselves as President and deputy President of Kenya.
Sixteenth, given that Uhuru and Ruto voluntarily opted to be tried by ICC rather than a local court, Kenya voluntarily signed the Rome Statute setting up ICC against dictatorship and impunity, without forgetting that Kenyans voluntarily incorporated the Rome Statute in the constitution, it does not make sense for the government to deny the court cooperation or seek its sabotage when we might need the same court tomorrow.
President Uhuru might call ICC a personal challenge but it is not because, parading of any Kenyan at The Hague is a national humiliation with ramifications for all of us. ICC is a national challenge to which we must get a national solution guided by the ultimate truth that no interests of two, three or five individuals can override interests of the whole nation.

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