BY NGUNJIRI WAMBUGU
Change Associates was part of one of the five panels that dealt with specific aspects related to the Kenya National Dialogue & Reconciliation process, during the just concluded conference hosted by the Kofi Annan Foundation and AU Panel of Eminent Personalities. The overall agenda was to review the progress made by the grand coalition government 2 years on.
However, two statements, one by Kofi Annan and the other by the ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, stood out, especially as we discuss how Kenya deals with the indictments of the 6 high profile personalities by 17th December 2010.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo said: “We are investigating murders, rapes and forced displacements, which constitute crimes against humanity”.
Kofi Annan said: “If we do not speak for today’s victims, what will we do about tomorrow’s victims, and who will speak for them? Some of the historical injustices would not have been repeated if action had been taken to fight impunity”.
So, as regards the way forward post 17 December 2010 Kenyans know that Luis Moreno-Ocampo is not running for a political office in Kenya, and that Kofi Annan has already received enough international recognition for what he has done with his life, including a Nobel prize. So this is not about them.
Kenyans also realise that the political resistance against the ICC process is to be expected because there is a great possibility that the careers of some very senior individuals amongst Kenya’s current political elite, might be affected considerably. Kenyans are therefore willing to take this in stride, we are now planning for scenarios beyond each single individual. We also respect the right of anyone expecting to be adversely affected, to fight against the ICC as much as they can, for their political lives and the prestige and recognition that comes with it are at stake. However, we are very clear in our minds that this is also not about them.
Kenyans know that the ICC process is about the over 1, 300 innocent Kenyans who lost their lives (and the families they left behind), the hundreds of thousands displaced (some who are still living as internal refugees), and the thousands of women raped.
Kenyans also realise that the ICC process is only but one step in a several procedures that we must carry out towards enabling effective closure on the Post Election Violence. Other steps ahead include local criminal prosecution of lower profile perpetrators of murder, rape and other criminal activities carried out during that period, as well as processes of national healing and reconciliation.
We also remember that it was us who chose to first go the ICC route, rather than start PEV crime prosecutions locally. Majority of us including all those in the forefront who today are against the ICC, stated publicly that only the Hague would sort out the issue. The statement of ‘Don’t Be Vague, Let’s Go To The Hague’ started from with the political class, and the rest of us Kenyans agreed.
We agree that we are moving into the unknown, but we urge Kenyans to remember that the Colonial government came, and went: Kenyatta’s government came, and went: Moi’s government came, and went: Kibaki’s government is here today, but will be gone by 2013. No single person, no matter how large he or she seems today, lasts forever.
So, dear fellow citizens, Let us not be scared. Our obligation as this generation of Kenyans is to take responsibility of our nation and ensure it outlives every single one of us. For this to happen we must ensure that all our decisions are driven by the realization that Kenya, as a Nation-State, will always be more important than any single select group of individuals or communities within it.
Lets all work towards ensuring that Kenya survives beyond the indictments of six individuals on 17 December 2010.
(Ngunjiri Wambugu is the Executive Director, Change Associates Trust)