Saturday, 28 November 2015

The ugly drama at ASP on Rule 68 doesnt help Ruto

It is either an exceptionally powerful death wish or pure innocence – or even both. As Kenya was pleading for Papal prayers this week, a large detail of State officials was clowning before the world, at the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) and embarrassing their government and country. They were in Europe to protest against perceived injustice in the case against Deputy President William Ruto. Mostly made of legislators, they have created the curious narrative that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has conspired with the Opposition to “fix” the Deputy President, “so that he does not ascend to power when President Uhuru Kenyatta retires in 2022.” They carried their usual juvenile unruliness to a solemn and structured international forum. They behaved as if they were at one of their peculiar “prayer meetings,” where nihilism is the norm. They screamed, heckled, clowned and made themselves preposterous. Who sends out people to fool about like this? A bigger question begs, however. Does the DP ever reflect on the wider significance of the tomfoolery going on in the name of saving him? Does it ever occur to him that these people, claiming to be his dyed-in-the-wool friends, are pushing him towards a possible jail sentence by the ICC? Our people say that the ear that will die does not listen to medicine. They also say when cows know that one of them will be slain, they will tease and lead her to the slaughterhouse. Is someone determined that the DP should be pronounced guilty? Or is it only his own naivetĂ©? Does he lack the capacity to recognise that the ugly drama that has played out these so many months does not help his case at all? If the DP lacks the capacity to read this situation correctly, he would probably have some genuine friends – or family? They would advise him that not everybody who protests about him cares for him? He would know that this noise and drama is about themselves. In the end, these people don’t really care about what happens to Ruto. Put in simple terms, the DP is alleged to have mobilised people to violence that amounted to crimes against humanity. That he is so powerful that Kenyan courts cannot try him; he is virtually “above the law.” Accordingly, the ICC being a political court, is trying him because at home “he is protected by impunity.” Now each time these MPs hold aggressive “prayer meetings” and abuse the ICC, they reinforce the perception that “here is an extremely powerful politician who enjoys fanatic support at home. He can mobilise people on a huge scale to do whatever he wants them to do.” When they carry this conduct to international forums, they leave everyone there saying, “If they can behave like this here where they have no authority over us, how more vile are they back home?” The ICC does not pretend to be a normal court. The Rome Statute states very clearly that this is a political court, established to try powerful politicians who enjoy impunity at home, or in whose countries the court system has collapsed. These people are not helping Ruto. They will be his undoing. It is a pity that this week they adulterated the diplomatic gains the Papal visit brought to the Jubilee Government. Meanwhile back at home we have been of good comportment while the Papal visit lasted. Indeed, we began even before the Holy Father arrived. My mother told me we were acting preemptively. We did not want the world to attribute to the Pope the reforms that we made. And so beleaguered Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru resigned – or asked the President to relieve her of her duties and give her a lighter load. Suspended Cabinet Secretaries were finally dismissed. Seven new secretaries were appointed. Ethics and Anti Corruption Commissioners were nominated. The Riot Act was read to those who would dare to be corrupt. Even the private sector got its own script from State House. See also: Leaders’ conduct over ICC unbecoming Mama Roselyn believes all this was window dressing. She says it was all meant to impress the Pope – that our true conduct was what was happening before the ASP. She has been around for nearly eight decades. I have learnt from her some of the things I have previously said in this column. She could therefore be right. I pray that she is wrong. When President Kenyatta read the Riot Act in Parliament in March, she told me all that was hot air. Nothing would come of it. The President’s tough words would vaporise into nothing. I disagreed. I must accept we have achieved nothing since March. Mama Roselyn was right. I was wrong. Which leads me to this Cabinet reshuffle. Why did President Kenyatta shortchange Kenyan women? I have attended, this week, the International Commission of Jurists Annual meeting. We pondered over moving from rhetoric to action on the question of inclusion of women in leadership. It is difficult to understand why the President keeps shortchanging women. Why does the President ignore a Constitution he has taken oath to protect? Do you have something to add to this story? Comment here.
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