Kalonzo heads to Libya, Nigeria for ICC lobbying

January 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka heads to Libya on Tuesday for a meeting with President Muammar Gaddafi, in the final stage of continental efforts to garner support from the African Union for a deferral of the Kenya case at the International Criminal Court.

Mr Gaddafi is the immediate past chairman of the African Union and his support for Kenya’s bid to shore up backing from the AU during a summit in Ethiopia later this week is seen as crucial.

Once Kenya gets the African Union on its side, it is expected that the continental body will petition the United Nations Security Council to seek a deferral of the case against six suspects the ICC wants prosecuted over Kenya’s 2008-post election violence.

The Vice President’s personal assistant Kaplich Barsito confirmed to Capital News that Mr Musyoka would be in Libya for a day and later travel to Nigeria – which has a seat on the UN Security Council – for similar talks with President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr Musyoka has already held talks with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, which also has a seat on the UN Security Council.

At the weekend, the VP’s office said Kenya had secured the support of the African Union Commission and Ethiopia in its bid to have the International Criminal Court defer the Kenya case.

AU Commission chair Jean Ping was quoted as endorsing Kenya’s request on the basis that it was within the realm of the liberties of all ICC member states.

Kenya’s request for a deferral will also be discussed by member states of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development at the request of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who is the current IGAD chairman.

The bid led by the Vice President for a deferral of the Kenya case at the ICC has led to divisions within the coalition government after the Orange Democratic Movement disowned the move.

But Mr Musyoka has reiterated that the push should not be interpreted to mean that there is an attempt to run away from justice or condoning impunity.  He instead says it is in the interest of Kenya to try the suspects through a judicial mechanism.

During his visit to Ethiopia at the weekend, the VP briefed key Western, African and UN diplomats accredited to the AU in Addis Ababa from the UK, US, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Ghana and Uganda.

Mr Kalonzo has been leading a three-member Cabinet team that has separately been shuttling to various African capitals ahead of the AU summit on January 30-31 in Addis Ababa.

Others involved in the diplomacy are Trade Minister Chirau Mwakwere and Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Njeru Githae.

Kenya already has backing for its proposal from South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Djibouti, Burundi and the African Union commission.

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika whom Mr Kalonzo met last week is the current chairman of the 53-member AU bloc.  He took over from Mr Gaddafi whom the Vice President is due to meet on Tuesday.

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