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Kalonzo seeks Malawi support against ICC

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka leaves the country on Wednesday for a visit to Malawi, on the second leg of lobbying continental support from the African Union, for a deferral of the Kenya case at the ICC.

The VP’s personal assistant Kaplich Barsito told Capital News that they would be in Lilongwe for an overnight stay before returning to Kenya.

“The second leg of the lobbying will take us to Malawi, Nigeria and Addis Ababa ahead of the AU summit expected at the end of this month,” Mr Barsito said and emphasised that the aim was to push for a deferral of the Kenya case.

The government has been pushing for a local tribunal to try the perpetrators of the post-poll violence after six personalities were named by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo last December.

Last week, Mr Musyoka held meetings with presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, as part of an elaborate government plan to lobby African States to help Kenya stave off the imminent prosecution of the officials.

Among those on Mr Ocampo’s list are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, The Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali.  Others are Henry Kosgey, William Ruto and Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang.

In comments made after round one of the lobbying, Mr Musyoka said Kenya was committed to the comprehensive delivery of justice, fostering of national healing, reconciliation and stemming the culture of violence.

He said Kenya remained fully aware that the International Criminal Court provided the option of deferment of cases to national mechanisms, if the concerned state showed willingness and the ability to deal with the issue.

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The VP holds the view that a credible local judicial process 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.

Other ministers have been dispatched to several capitals on the continent to lobby support from the African Union ahead of the AU meeting in Addis Ababa on January 30-31.  At the meeting, Kenya plans to ask for AU support for a deferral of the Kenya case at the ICC 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.

Last year, President Mwai 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."

On Sunday, Mr Musyoka was also quoted saying that the Cabinet had agreed to pay legal fees for Mr Muthaura and Major General (Rtd) Ali since they were acting in their capacities as civil servants and are still serving public officials.

The announcement has however caused divisions in the grand coalition government, after Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi denied that the Orange Democratic Movement was party to the decision.

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