BY DANN MWANGI
There has been a worrying yet deceptively charming argument in support of the continuation of the Kenyan cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The argument fallaciously claims that the ICC is the best means of delivering justice to the victims of 2007/8 mayhem.
However, historical facts and precedence defy this tumid and self-absorbed kite-flying proclamation.
Here is why.
To begin with, impunity is a complex disease. It is like gangrene. It eats up whole body parts indiscriminately. Such an affliction cannot be healed by simply dousing the affected area in salt water. In truth, our entire social fabric is reeling under reckless decadence. This situation calls for comprehensive surgical review.
In the meantime, the term impunity has been forced to take on selective, even incorrigible self-serving meaning. Its newly acquired connotation makes all of us sound like cretins lacking a mind of our own.
Before going round reciting praise poetry on the ICC’s holier-than-thou mission in Kenya, we need to carefully probe two things.
One, what does history reveal about our relationship with the countries at the forefront of crucifying Kenya at the ICC? Two, where is geopolitics in all the games going on around the ICC? And don’t forget that the ICC was formed at the behest of Western powers and continues to be funded by them.
Remember that the same caliphs who sold, bought and enslaved our ancestors are the same ones who colonised and brutally murdered hundreds of thousands before independence. To date, they have continued raiding our resources under the guise of foreign investments, development aid and globalisation.
Hanging onto fake self-righteousness, the colonists claimed almost the whole of Africa in 25 years (between 1885 and 1910). In the wake, they adopted uninformed, divisive, inaccurate and racist stereotypes of Africans. A clique of soulless brutes among them praised their Kings for enabling them to exterminate Africans for sport.
The US researcher, Caroline Elkins in her ‘Imperial Reckoning; The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya’ illustrates this gory truth rather vividly. She demonstrates that British colonial detour in Kenya was a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide. It claimed 300,000 and spirited another 1.5 million natives into barbed-wire villages.
Western media and colonial apologists would like to whitewash these crimes but the truth of unimaginable torture including public whipping, sodomy and castration will never die.
Though the ICC had not been invented back then to address that criminality can people with blood dripping from their hands claim the moral authority to seek justice for post-election victims? Does the leopard, if I may ask, lose its spots?
Before the Mau Mau took on the British, Colonel Richard Henry Meinertzhagen led a campaign that brutally decimated an estimated 1,500 Kenyans confiscating 11,000 heads of livestock. This is the tyrant who tricked and killed the celebrated Nandi leader, Orkoiyot Koitalel arap Samoei. Yet nobody ever took him to court until he died in 1967, a hero and no one ever apologized for his barbarism.
Elsewhere, the French, having occupied Algeria between 1830 and 1962, the victims, totally fed up, demonstrated against their tormentors in 1945 leading to bloody skirmishes. The French retaliated by killing about 6,000 Algerians thereby radicalised the latter who ended up waging war against the French. In retaliation, France took more than 500,000 soldiers to Algiers and murdered more than 1,000,000 locals between 1954 and 1962. Now you know why sceptics think France is shedding crocodile tears over justice for PEV victims.
Unfortunately these truths will be lost because lackeys sponsored by the West sell their snake oil of warped, hollow in the name of ‘justice’.
Who, if I may ask, was behind slave trade? According to Nathan Nunn in ‘The Legacy of Colonialism: A Model of Africa’s Underdevelopment’ the sale of human beings as slaves culminated in the exportation of 16.8 million Africans across the Atlantic Ocean. Those killed in the process outnumbered the survivors who reached the destinations of torture, toil and turmoil that awaited them.
In fact, the quicksand moral high ground claimed by ICC founders would have been hilarious were it not for the fact that it is as real as our skin colour.
How, possibly, can we forget colonial Uganda’s Master and Servant Ordinance of 1913, which jailed ‘natives’ for up to six months if they left employment before their contract was over. Similarly, in Tanzania, the British had put in place what was called the Whipping Regulations in which those working for the British got 12 strokes for deserting duty.
Today, the international trade dealings under the World Trade Organisation and the dynamics of globalisation operate along the same exploitative tendencies crafted more than 100 years ago.
Can we ever be more naïve than this?
(Mwangi is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya)