On Kenya poll, you’re wrong Mr Carson

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CHRIS FOOT

You expressly stated that there would be ‘consequences’ and implicitly that these would follow, if Kenyans voted in Uhuru Kenyatta, an ICC indictee.

Having sold us ‘one man one vote’ democracy as the panacea for all our ills, you now wish to tell us ‘natives’ how to exercise that vote.

This election, most Kenyans are caught between a rock and a hard place. The last thing we need is for misinformed diplomats to tell us that in this two horse race, one presidential candidate is better than the other. It is not a question about their competence, character or integrity or indeed of their ability to govern. It is a question of Kenya’s sovereignty.

Let us put aside the numerous issues relating to the International Criminal Court. Let us look at your government’s historic relationship with the ICC. The irony is not lost on many Kenyans that the US refused to ratify the Rome Statute which created the ICC, primarily because of your concern that your leaders and soldiers could be prosecuted.

Nor that your government previously has forced many countries to enter into illegal impunity agreements with yourselves, which prevent them from handing over, to the ICC, any US national accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Or that, as recently as 2010, your government opposed the ICC bid to make ‘aggression’ a crime under international law. You cannot, in good faith, use the ICC for your subterfuge.

The ICC issue aside. Let us look at your moral authority for entering this debate.

We won’t discuss the extrajudicial killing of your own citizens with drone strikes, the continuing existence of Guantanamo Bay, the 100,000s of innocents killed as collateral in Iraq and Afghanistan or the hypocrisy of your current administration sanctioning the illegal ‘renditioning’ of suspected terrorists from Kenya to third countries for routine torture.

And that is before we even look at the immorality of much of your foreign policy over the previous decades. Equity demands that you come to the table with clean hands. Your hands, both historically and currently, are positively grubby.

Let’s even put aside the fundamental principle of most jurisdictions, including yours, that one is innocent until proved guilty.

Both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have stated that they intend to remain in the ICC process. To date most of what they have done seems to support this intent. They are not in breach of their bail conditions and have done nothing yet to indicate that they intend skip bail or do a ‘Bashir’.

Your and many diplomats’ concerns are based on a contingent liability, a possibility, and you have prejudged them and by association their supporters.

It can only be assumed that yours is a political agenda. Former Defence Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that the ICC would lead to “politicized prosecution”. This, Mr Carson, is what you have abetted.

In your words, there are ‘consequences’- the USA is now seen as partisan with regard to Kenyan politics.

If diplomats do choose to publicly endorse their man (which many do privately, although not as brazenly as the Dutch and the Germans have previously done), I would ask them to take responsibility for the actions of ‘their man’ over the next 5 years. A warranty or guarantee to the Kenyan people- that father knows best.

As in the Palestinian election of Hamas, in 2006or indeed the recent changes in North Africa, democratic elections don’t always deliver the leaders we would want. But unless you believe in Rousseau’s mantra that “men must sometimes be forced to free”, you must allow democracy to run its course. Otherwise you are subverting the very democratic process that you espouse. The very nature of sovereignty is that you allow us to make our bed and lie in it. Or stop promoting democracy. Your call.

You may find this offensive but it is no more offensive than millions of Kenya found your unsolicited, partisan and misconceived entry into our democratic space.

And no, I most likely will not be voting for Mr Kenyatta. But that is for reasons, other than ‘bwana’ told me not to.

Foot is a barrister and media personality ([email protected] or @ckfoot)

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  • Realist

    Every time some diplomats make threatening statements, Kenyans vow to prove them wrong. Besides that, their uninvited comments on ICC-Kenya situation only serve to galvanize Jubilee’s bid to rule Kenya.

  • Well written, exeptionally informing and amazingly articulate. Are u running for any political seat this time around Bwana Foot?

    • Omsakuru

      Tihihihi… Ati Bwana Bwana Foot!! #PunNoted

  • They have no moral ground to be telling us who we should or should not be voting for, as Kenyans let us vote whomever we want without the west meddling into our business!

  • Well written article, I do not agree with most of it. But Kenya is a free country. Good Work Foot!

  • I wish you should have indicated that Kenya ,a sovereign state signed the treaty on her own volition and that telling you that there will be consequences (because its based on their policy) is not equivalent to telling you not to vote in your preferred candidate….only that you’ll deal with the consequences.You have been forewarned!………….so make you democratic choice and live with the consequences;thats all Carson said

  • Gathii

    Where we’re the EU and other European countries when the Americans were going for elections last year? They should have warned Americans of the consequences of electing a President who does not sign or recognize the Rome Statute!

  • Gilly

    Interesting article.. !!

  • sisemikitu

    At some point Hitler would have won the Germany elections by a landslide!

  • One man one vote doesnt apply to criminal suspects. Actually, democracy has no leadership role for such people. And moreso, when they are suspected rapists and murderers! Therefore, unless democracy is supposed to be measured with twisted village mind, you need not mention that!
    Diplomats are NOT misinformed and as such, you are insulting them! They have more elaborate means of gathering information than you can possibly dream about. And why would Kenyans be caught between rock and hard place? I thought perhaps criminal suspects are finding themselves in such situation? Sovereignty is not about criminal suspects! It has respect and dignity. Suspected rapists and murderers have no shred of that!
    Kenya government requested for ICC’s intervention. USA on the other hand, with superior judicial systems and being a superpower, opted NOT to be under any one’s leash. Your comparison therefore, falls flat on that one. And if indeed USA “forced” many countries to enter in to alleged illegal treaties, what would stop it from forcing Kenya in to complying with ICC process? Or have we discovered new superpower overpowering methods?
    Obviously, in Iraq and Afghanistan, war situations did exist. That allowed winning powers to take action against those they perceived to have wronged them. The situation pertaining in Kenya is totally different. We willingly (together with suspects!) walked straight to ICC and requested for known crimes to be punished! In real sense, It doesnt warrant the kind of debate that essentially revolves around known criminal suspects. Even allowing it to reach a point of insulting our friends, is in itself, treacherous! Known suspected criminals charged with specific crimes should NOT be allowed to threaten lives of 40million Kenyans!
    Hypocritical morality is even better than heinous crimes against humanity! Uhuru and Ruto have been violently proclaiming their innocence. They have even abused prosecutors and literally belittled ICC as a whole. Their purported innocence is thus pretty questionable and obviously their conduct is below acceptable morality.
    Nations that respect democratic norms CANT be forced to do business with suspected criminal leadership. So that point must be made clear. No leader worthy his salt would share table with someone spattered with human blood all over. And moreso, blood of his very own citizens! Even high morals that you purport to apply CANT EMBRACE SUCH A DREADFUL SITUATION AT ALL!!!!

  • kenyancartman

    Excellent article Chris. I too I’m not a fan of the ICC duo but having a country that has been involved in the most horrendous human rights violations come to lecture us on violence and threatening consequences is simply disgusting. Truth is the world would be a more peaceful place without the US.

  • aruh

    such an article Mr foot ..but …..the question i have always been asking myself is one? are we ready to let KENYA ..be pull down like it is about to be……….sovereign state it has been called ..so lets see how it goes but..one question that kenyans must not forget to ask is that list had 20 individuals where are the rest .. i ask?

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