Welcome Ocampo, Kenya kuna matata

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BY ANTHONY KAGIRI

On July 31, the Kenyan Cabinet went against public mood and trashed watertight recommendations for a local tribunal.

In a Cabinet brief read by none other than President Mwai Kibaki, the country’s top decision making organ refused to take the responsibility of bringing the culprits of post election violence to account and instead handed it to the International Criminal Court.

Three months since that declaration to cooperate with the ICC, Kenyans are still waiting to see action on people responsible for deaths, rape, vandalism and other crimes against humanity.

The President and his Prime Minister have been quoted to be in support of the prosecutions but let me remind our honorable principals that political will that is not accompanied by real action does not take us anywhere. It is one thing to publicly declare support and cooperation for an international process but another to actually initiate the search for justice.

To remind our leaders, about 1,333 Kenyans were killed while more than 600,000 were displaced from their fruitful farms simply because they voted for either of the principals. These poor Kenyans are still waiting for the two principals to stand up and show leadership. Their leadership was first put to the acid test when they failed to whip support for the tribunal from their lieutenants. 

Worse still even after vowing to cooperate with the ICC the top leadership made no efforts to invite Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo into the country. Isn’t it a shame that Ocampo (who essentially is supposed to be the saviour if the nation from the culture of impunity) had to ask to be invited into the country?

Let me leave that for now, it is water under the bridge anyway. Mr Ocampo is in town this week to meet the two principals and they have an opportunity to once again show leadership and prove their desire for justice. Let’s avoid the side issues and initiate the ICC process in the country. As stipulated in the Rome Statute this requires a formal request from the government.

It is time the President and his PM authorised their legal expert Attorney General Amos Wako and the Internal Security Minister George Saitoti to initiate the process.

Besides skepticism that the ICC will only make a few arrests and leave the rest living amongst us, Kenyans are waiting to see those few arrests and they will be assured.

The Internally Displaced Persons are still waiting for justice. Action on the masterminds, I believe, is enough to deter future planners and executors of political violence too.

The ever smiling Attorney General has been under immense pressure to resign lately over his apparent failure to institute necessary reforms. Whereas I support his resignation this could be his last assignment if at all he bows to pressure.

It is time to surrender the Kenyan case to Mr Ocampo!

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