Anything or anyone that has been around for 40 years or more can no longer fit the description of young, impressionable or immature.
46 years after independence, Kenya is still at the fledgling levels of development and on matters of governance we have been described as a ‘failed state.’ This a label that has put the country’s leadership on its defence but instead of trying to call a spade a big spoon, let us begin by admitting that until we sort out issues of policy and implementation, we will remain at the bottom tier of international performance.
Since the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, set his sights on Kenya there has been a flurry of activities with politicians leading the speculation tirade. The country’s leadership is aflutter, behaving like a bunch of school children on hearing the teacher’s footsteps.
External intervention should have ended with former UN Chief Kofi Annan’s midwifery of the Grand Coalition. I’m sure when Mr Annan got on the plane to leave Kenya for the first time; he hoped that this baby christened ‘Grand Coalition’ would be looked after, fed and nurtured to growth. But alas, he had to return just last month because the infant’s life was in danger.
I’m sure Mr Annan is glad that he provided to the ICC in The Hague the Waki list of suspects thought to be behind the bloody rioting after Kenya’s 2007 general elections.
The list provided an insurance to safeguard Annan’s work should efforts in Kenya for a tribunal fail.
It is one thing to invite a third party when two parties do not see eye to eye on a given issue. The two parties’ readiness to work with a mediator demonstrated the willingness to find a solution. Outside interference should have ended when Mr Annan arbitrated between Kenya’s two political protagonists and brought them to the negotiating table.
In March last year, Mr Annan left the Independent Review Commission with a brief to investigate all aspects of the flawed poll and make findings and recommendations to improve future electoral processes.
The team was meant to tackle Agenda Four, which covers essential changes in law, the Constitution, constitutional offices and the establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.
Did we really need to wait until the international community cracked the whip, which is how I would describe Mr Ocampo’s involvement?
Are we not better off developing home-grown solutions for Kenya’s problems?
Clearly, the Kenyan people expect more from the coalition government – more unity of purpose, more progress on the reform agenda, more concrete action to end impunity and combating corruption.
There is added pressure to complete the reforms – including a new Constitution, electoral reforms, police and judicial reforms, as well as land reforms – well before the 2012 elections, so as to prevent a recurrence of the crisis and violence experienced in 2008.
Justice meted out by the ICC can be viewed as an imposition by the West. ICC justice is also far removed from victims of the post election crimes. I believe Kenya still has the opportunity to demonstrate that we can deliver independent, fair and impartial justice.
Even with Ocampo’s arrival, a chance still exists for us to build up our justice system and prove to the world that we are willing and able to end impunity by holding individuals responsible for crimes they commit.