NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – In the end they gathered to celebrate and give thanks to God, and rejoice they did!.
Since the name of former Head of Civil Service Francis Kirimi Muthaura appeared in the list of those suspected to be highly culpable for the post poll chaos of 2008, his family acknowledges that it received support from close friends and his government colleagues.
But on Saturday they gathered at Muthaura’s Rongai home to celebrate the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop all the charges that the former civil service boss had faced.
Amidst all the celebration it was also time to reveal what the Muthaura’s went through behind the public glare while the ICC Prosecutor held that it had a case against the career public servant.
In the words of his wife, Rose who rarely spoke about the issue in public, it was a long journey with a good ending but chiefly with the support of family and friends. She revealed that even to them, the announcement by prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that she wanted to withdraw the case, was a pleasant surprise to the family.
“We knew that we were not alone and that there were people out there praying for us wishing us well, supporting us in all kinds of ways and we continued to pray to God. God did it for us sooner than we expected,” she said and added that she has never received better news than the breaking news she received that day.
Rose says that Bensouda was wise to withdraw the charges as the legal team her husband had assembled would have torn apart the evidence provided by the prosecution.
During a status conference for Muthaura and Uhuru Kenyatta on March 11, Bensouda told the court that it was quite a difficult decision for the prosecution to make.
She explained that the absence of strong incriminating evidence and lack of witnesses compelled her to drop the charges. She also regretted that witnesses were compromised, while others had died before they could testify before the court.
For his son Paul, it had been a painstaking period seeing his father in court and having to explain to every visitor the situation. He says that it got a bit desperate for him and his two sisters as their professional expertise could not help their father.
He said: “I am not a criminal lawyer, just as my sister and the other who is a doctor; it becomes frustrating when as a professional you cannot step up to protect the person you care for so dearly.”
Former Director of the Kenya anti Corruption Commission Aaron Ringera who is a close confidant of Muthaura said he had at times regretted leading the Kenyan delegation to sign the Rome Statute in 1998.
As a consultant for the Muthaura legal team, Ringera says he was always confident that the case would not stand any ground as the theory behind it was wrong and the facts manufactured.
“The decision brought to an end a deep winter in the life of Muthaura, a winter of anguish and stigma,” he said adding that the case would have crumbled like a house of cards had it proceeded to trial.
Muthaura while thanking his family and friends insisted that his saddest day was when Parliament failed to pass the legislation required to form a local tribunal.
“We have institutions that can do a much better job than what we went through at The Hague; our judges can do much better work in sorting out our issues than foreign judges who sometimes have very mixed ideas about what type of people we are,” he said.
And in the end all the friends including permanent secretaries, businessmen, politicians and clergy went away convinced that justice had been served to a man described as a fine diplomat and a respecter of family values.