, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is in Kampala Uganda for a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni, as part of an elaborate government plan to lobby African states to help Kenya stave off the imminent prosecution of key officials by the ICC.
Mr Musyoka arrived in Kampala on Wednesday evening from Pretoria where he held a similar meeting with South African president Jacob Zuma, according to his personal assistant Kaplich Barsito.
A statement issued to Capital News by Mr Barsito on arrival in Kampala said that Kenya was committed to the comprehensive delivery of justice, fostering of national healing, reconciliation and stemming the culture of violence.
But he added: "At the same time, we remain fully aware that International Criminal Court members who demonstrate the ability to handle their national problems are free and encouraged to do so. Indeed the ICC process provides for deferment of cases to national mechanisms where appropriate."
He said the government acknowledged that the success of the ICC in the Kenyan situation required the complimentary role of a credible local judicial process that would take into account the pertinent issues of justice for the victims, compensation for losses and most importantly underwriting national healing and harmonious co-existence of all Kenyan communities and the national cohesion and integration.
"This is the way to laying a firm foundation for a united peaceful and prosperous Kenya. This is the position that the government wishes to share with our international friends and obtain their understanding and support," Mr Barsito said.
He said the VP was expected to hold talks with President Museveni on Thursday morning before returning to Kenya later in the day.
Other ministers have been dispatched to several capitals on the continent to lobby support from the African Union ahead of a meeting in Addis Ababa on January 30-31 where Kenya plans to ask for support in seeking a deferral of the ICC Kenya case, as happened with that of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
In February last year, the African Union asked the United Nations Security Council to delay proceedings against Mr Bashir for alleged war crimes, on the basis that charges against him could undermine peace.
The ICC gave the nod for Mr Bashir to be charged with genocide for his role in a five-year campaign of violence in western Sudan\’s Darfur region.
In Kenya\’s case, the government hopes to lobby the African Union to ask for a deferment even as Members of Parliament push for Kenya to pull out of the Rome Statute. Already, the lawmakers have adopted a Motion and want to lobby the President to agree to withdraw the country from the international court.
The latest move to lobby African support is spearheaded by Mr Musyoka who was mandated to undertake the task after a meeting between the President and the Prime Minister.
The establishment of a local tribunal is now a priority for the government, after the list of six suspects was released by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. It includes Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who is a son of Kenya\’s founding president Jomo Kenyatta.
Others are the secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura, former ministers Henry Kosgey, William Ruto, ex-police chief Hussein Ali, and Kass FM radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
After Mr Ocampo named six suspects, President Kibaki made it clear that he did not plan to take any action against them.
He said any calls for action against them was "prejudicial, pre-emptive and against the rules of natural justice."
"They cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court," the President said at the time.
President Kibaki repeated the government\’s commitment to establish a local judicial mechanism to try those behind the post election violence.
"As a nation we must also focus on the need for national healing and reconciliation. This is paramount as we move forward on the path of national peace and unity."
Follow the author at https://twitter.com/m_mumo