US backs Ocampo move on Kenya

March 4, 2010 12:00 am

, MAI MAHIU, Kenya, Mar 4 – American Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger has supported International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo for handing over 20 names of suspected perpetrators of the post election violence.

Mr Ranneberger who was speaking during the second ‘Kenya ni Wajibu Wangu’ road show in Mai Mahiu said the United States would continue endorsing Mr Ocampo in his endeavour and also put pressure on the government to achieve its reform agenda.

He also said Kenyans needed to make a critical choice to ensure that the atrocities committed in the wake of 2008 were not repeated. He added that the country should remain focused in the creation and setting up of a local tribunal to bring healing and justice.

“America will accord the necessary support to the ICC and to Mr Ocampo because we feel that this is necessary. However it is equally important for the country to set up its own local mechanism to try make sure everyone is held to account and to help the country deal with the other historical injustices that it needs to deal with,” he said.

Amb Ranneberger further added that the country still had a long way to go in terms of achieving its reform agenda. He maintained that the country’s commitment and will to fight impunity and corruption within its ranks remained a challenge and that a lot more needed to be done.

“Corruption is a vice that needs to be fought and to do that the government together with its people must make a deliberate choice to rid the country off the ill,” he said.

Meanwhile Internally Displaced Persons in Mai Mahiu also supported the move by Mr Ocampo who on Wednesday forwarded to the ICC judges a list of the PEV financiers from both sides of the main political parties.

Salome Nduta who was one of the lucky survivors of the ill fated Kiambaa church incident said the move by the ICC prosecutor would help bring justice to the country.

“I can never go back to Eldoret because the memories of what I witnessed are still very fresh but I thank Mr Ocampo for forwarding those names to the ICC judges. These financiers are to blame because they took advantage of the poverty levels in their constituencies and started giving the local men money to kill and destroy property of those considered to be the enemies,” she said.

Asked whether she would appear before the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, Ms Nduta said: “Kuenda nitaenda (I will go) because I think time has come for us to confront our demons once and for all.”

Esther Nyambura also from Eldoret aslo said the move by the ICC prosecutor was welcome. She however said there was still need to set up and empower local mechanisms to start the country’s healing process.

“People fought along tribal lines; it was this community against that community and Mr Ocampo cannot help the country deal with this. We need alternative means to help us work out the deep rooted cause for the violence meted against people in 2008,” she said.

Mohammed Ngunyi who was a business man in Eldoret who lost all his property after the victor to the disputed presidential election was announced further asked Kenyans to refrain from killing each other and to stop being tribalistic.

“People were after my blood…people I knew well and I lost everything I had. Sometimes I become very bitter but I have to remind myself that all that is in the past. Kenyans need to remember that when we were fighting each other, none of our leaders’ sons and daughters were in the streets fighting with us,” he said.

While most of the IDPs who spoke to Capital News welcomed Mr Ocampo’s move, they still asked for a local tribunal to help the country deal with all its historical injustices; a tribunal that would deal with the issue of land as well as the issue of tribalism. For some of the IDPs going back home is something they were not willing to do but they still maintained that they would want to meet their adversaries- those who threw them out of their homes, vandalised property, killed and maimed.

‘Kenya in Wajibu Wangu’ reform road show commemorates the signing of the National Accord that ended the post election violence. It aims at sensitising Kenyans about their own responsibility in the reform process. It encourages the public to reflect on the promises that the coalition government made in the Accord (Agenda III and IV)

The public are able to view pictures of the Post Election Violence with the Kenya Burning Exhibition to remember what happened two years ago and why contributing to the reform agenda is necessary. 3,200 adults saw the exhibition.


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