The Supreme Court of Kenya has spoken.
I do not understand how they came to their decisions. However we now must move forward. I hereby congratulate President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta on his election as the 4th President of the Republic of Kenya. I also congratulate Deputy President-elect William Ruto who becomes Kenya’s first ever Deputy President. I wish them all the best as they form a new government.
As one of the 5.3 million Kenyans who did not vote for them and as part of the political machinery mandated with ensuring that CORD won, it has taken me a while to recover from the shock of March 9th 2013. I then held on to hope that March 30th could change something; it did not. I have now accepted that on March 4th 2013 Kenyans voted for someone else other than my candidate. I am a democrat and will respect that decision.
The 2013 General Election was directly connected to the ‘un-completeness’ of the 2007 General Election and especially the violence aftermath of the latter. As I have shared before, I spent two years after those two months of national shame travelling around the country meeting various communities in inter-ethnic dialogue forums. The results of these forums was a firm conviction that the only way we would ensure that nothing like the 2007 PEV ever happened again was to institute a judicial process to investigate and prosecute those found to have been behind the violence.
I also believed that Kenyans want to know what happened in those two months.
After watching the difficulties of trying to establish a local process I became convinced that only the ICC would achieve these ends. Two years ago sections of Parliament contemplated removing Kenya from being a signatory of the International criminal Court to stop the ICC process. To counter this, I was part of a highly successful nationwide signature collection effort to rally Kenyans to support the ICC. In less than six weeks we had collected 1.4 million signatures and all attempts to stop the ICC were halted.
After this election I have to accept that I have been very wrong on this issue.
When the Supreme Court confirmed to the whole world that Kenya held a generally free and fair election I had to accept that two years after collecting 1.4 million signatures in support of ICC, 6.1 million Kenyans have stated emphatically that they do not agree with what I assumed was the Kenyan position on ICC. There is no other way to explain how these many people voted for a presidential candidate and running mate who have openly been indicted for crimes against humanity by the ICC.
Basically these election results are telling the world we have all learnt from what happened in 2007; we have sorted the issues and made the political adjustments; we now want to leave it behind us, and to be left alone to move forward. Compare this with the fact that that all these Kenyans were willing to accept whatever decisions the Kenyan Supreme Court came up with, on the presidential petition. Kenyans have clearly voted against the indictments, and the ICC.
Kenyans have democratically closed ranks around Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto by making them president and deputy president. The Supreme Court has confirmed that this was done in a fair contest and a transparent process.
The main contenders for the presidency have accepted this decision; the Kenyan people have settled down to this decision, whatever side of the political divide they support; and the international community has acknowledged this decision. Now all of us, not just the 6.1 million who voted for Uhuru and Ruto, or even just the 12.3 million who actually went to the ballot; but all 40 million of us Kenyans, must move forward and support the new president and deputy president elect as leaders of our nation. We have a responsibility to do this as Kenyans.
Now the International Criminal Court must take note and adjust accordingly. Kenya has put two individuals the ICC has indicted into our most powerful political offices. There will be great difficulty should the ICC now wish to parade them on the world stage as international criminals. Kenyans will not take this kindly, neither will they support it. The international community has also been called out on their bluff on possible sanctions and ‘non-essential contact’ claims.
They will not be able to do much on this lest they are accused of using the ICC cases to manipulate Kenya’s foreign policy to their benefit. Locally, it’s clear not many Kenyans will be brave enough to support a process that threatens to interfere with the new President’s ability as the new Head of State.
Kenyans have voted against the ICC and the court must now be asked to leave Kenya’s newly elected president and deputy president alone, to fulfil their new mandates in serving the Kenyan nation.
(Wambugu served as the Director of Political Affairs in the Raila Odinga Campaign Secretariat)