AU chairman backs Kenya move on ICC

January 20, 2011 12:00 am

, LILONGWE, Jan 20 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s crusade to get top African Union countries to support Kenya’s bid to defer ICC trials against six key suspects gathered momentum after President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi expressed confidence that the AU will back the bid.

The VP has been on a whirlwind tour of various African capitals in a bid to garner AU support for a deferral of the case facing the six Post Election Violence (PEV) suspects at the International Criminal Court, at The Hague.

President Mutharika who is the current AU chairman said Kenya was right to give preference to local judicial mechanism to try the suspects of the violence, saying that the ICC was a complementary process which also recognises that national jurisdictions should handle their matters first.

“I am sure Kenya’s intention to request for a deferral is in keeping with the provisions of the Rome Statute which Kenya is a signatory to, and therefore the UN Security Council should have no problem considering it favourably,” said Mr Mutharika.

President Mutharika was speaking at State House Lilongwe, during a meeting with Mr Musyoka who briefed him on Kenya’s intention to set up a local judicial mechanism to try the PEV suspects.

The VP alongside several other Cabinet Ministers are on a shuttle diplomacy mission across Africa to shore up support for Kenya’s request for a deferment ahead of an AU Summit in Addis Ababa next week.

The Vice President is expected to leave for Ethiopia later this week on a similar mission.

Already, Metropolitan Minister Njeru Githae has been to Djibouti, Burundi and Tanzania while Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere has visited Zambia in an itinerary that will take him to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

The Vice President has already briefed South African President Jacob Zuma who also sits at the UN Security Council, and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

On other bilateral issues, the VP said Kenya would be interested to learn from Malawi on agricultural production best practices which have ensured Malawi’s food sufficiency.

For the last three years, Malawi has achieved surplus maize production through the implementation of radical agricultural policies.

“The need to emulate Malawi in maize production is even stronger that Kenya has continued to experience erratic weather patterns resulting in bumper harvests sometimes, and serious famines at others, like the case is currently,” Mr Musyoka noted.

The Vice President also held talks with Malawi’s Speaker of the National Assembly Chimunthu Banda at the new National Assembly buildings.

Mr Musyoka said Kenya was in the process of fast-tracking the implementation of the new Constitution in order to anchor electoral, judicial and other institutional reforms.

After next year’s General election, Mr Musyoka added, Kenya will have a bicameral Parliament that will comprise of a Senate and a National Assembly.

“This will mean that our Speaker and the Parliamentary Service Commission will have to work hard to put in place the necessary facilities for the new set-up, in good time,” the VP added.

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