BY MUSALIA MUDAVADI
I have taken time off while here (USA & UK) to reflect on the environment in our country as we prepare for the General Election next year. Having been part of the negotiators under Kofi Annan process that restored normalcy, I have reflected deeply on the PEV and the ICC cases facing four Kenyans.
I have also applied my mind to the unfortunate situation in Tana River. And I am persuaded that there are national issues we need to deal with exhaustively rather than wishing them away. We have buried heavy matters alive, and they are kicking from underneath violently. Tana River and retaliatory attacks on innocent communities when terrorism incidences occur are just some of the manifestations. But what must we do? I have three suggestions on the way forward to this dilemma.
ADMISSION OF NATIONAL GUILT. We killed each other in 2008. Women were raped; children were molested. It would be cowardly to wish this away.
We must accept responsibility collectively. The nation is guilty. To prosecute four people for the sins of 40 million people is therefore preposterous. The four carry our national shame, but they must not carry our national guilt. We must all own up. And we must do this before we enter the 2013 electoral season.
I was among those who supported that any trial related to the PEV must be done locally. I still hold this view because no civilized society can allow their own to be tried in foreign jurisdictions. If it were in my powers, I would bring the ICC trials home as part of shouldering the guilt. Admission of national guilt is the first step to our national redemption.
SPEEDY JUSTICE FOR THE IDPs. Five years later, the IDPs are still in camps. This is another national shame. Yes, the IDPs are a complex problem with no quick solution. This is why we must all commit that no Kenyan will sleep hungry or insecure because of the national madness of 2008. Land justice for the IDPs is urgent. Justice for their other loses must also be given. And we must give it with speed. It is a shame that we are going into this election with this issue unresolved.
Resolve the Violence Culture Once and For All. ICC will not address the root causes of the growing culture of community and election-related violence. In fact, it has become a hindrance to
police operations in situations of violence like Tana River and when terrorism attacks. We cannot watch as evil people massacre others and police watch helplessly out of fear of being accused of targeting a given community.
This is not good in the fight against terror and for the coming election. I will personally sponsor specific legislation to deal with such perpetrators decisively and to empower the police in
maintaining order humanely, but firmly in exceptional circumstances of terror attacks.
(Musalia Mudavadi is a Deputy Prime Minister and a presidential hopeful for the March 2013 General Election)