ICC lobbying a Kibaki agenda, says Kalonzo

January 26, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka says he is acting on instructions from President Mwai Kibaki in his shuttle diplomacy across Africa to lobby support for a deferral of the Kenyan case before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mr Kalonzo who left for Libya and Nigeria on Wednesday on the final leg of his mission ahead of an African Union summit this weekend said the matter was discussed in the Cabinet Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations chaired by the President.

"I am not on a personal mission. I am going as a special envoy of the President of the Republic of Kenya.  Anybody thinking that the Vice President is on his own volition should be thus directed," he said.

The VP has been to Malawi, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda to lobby support for at motion that is to be tabled before the AU summit in Addis Ababa this weekend for African states to back a request for the United Nations Security Council to press for a deferral.

Cabinet Ministers Chirau Ali Mwakwere and Njeru Githae have also been on similar missions in other countries in the region.

"If you take the view that the President is the Head of State and Head of Government then when he chooses to dispatch his Vice President and other Ministers, the President\’s intentions are normally not questioned," he asserted.

Kenya is planning to lobby for the AU support to defer the indictment of six suspects named by the ICC as being behind the deadly 2008 post-election violence.

Those facing indictment by the ICC are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, MPs William Ruto and Henry Kosgey. Others are Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang.

The government wants to be allowed to try the suspects locally and is promising that the country is on the verge of major reforms in the justice system including the appointment of a new Chief Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions and Attorney General.

Mr Kalonzo\’s mission has however faced protests from coalition partner Orange Democratic Movement which has said the Cabinet has not consulted on the matter. Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday said that the issue to have ICC defer cases against the six masterminds of the post poll chaos was never discussed in Cabinet.

"I can tell you clearly that we have never talked about the issue of shuttle diplomacy," the Premier maintained.

Earlier, Mr Kalonzo had insisted there were sufficient consultations.

"There have been to the best of my knowledge very good consultations. I don\’t want to say full consultations because if you say so some people will say they were not consulted," he said.

The civil society is also up in arms against the campaign of the government and has started lobbying African states to reject the application.

In a letter to the 36 African National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has requested their intervention and support over the motion.

"We request your respective Commissions to appraise your governments and its representative of the facts and circumstances as outlined in our letter and also ask of them not to support Kenya government\’s motion of deferment," the letter signed by Commissioner Hassan Omar stated.

"The overwhelming majority of Kenyans are in favour of the ICC process, desire for justice for victims and perpetrators of post election violence and an end to impunity." 

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