Mutula Kilonzo an agent of confusion

Typical of Kenyan politicians, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo is sowing seeds of confusion in a vain attempt at winning popularity. Mutula’s history, however, suggests that he has little empathy for ordinary people.

Mutula Kilonzo

Mutula Kilonzo

Professionalism in Kenya is fast declining, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Grand Coalition Cabinet. The principles of confidentiality and collective responsibility have been thrown out the window as each individual seeks to advance their own interests.

All over the world, cabinet bodies are supposed to exhibit unity to the public regardless of the actual situation in private. This is because a divided cabinet signifies a divided government. A divided government can never deliver anything tangible to the people. In Kenya, though, the lack of professionalism means that cabinet ministers tear into each other in public without caring how it affects the government’s public image. This is causing unnecessary confusion as regards the true government position on anything important.

Mutula Kilonzo has become the latest agent of chaos, opposing a government decision made at a cabinet meeting which he attended. Mutula is currently championing the formation of a Special Tribunal to prosecute those who planned and participated in the 2008 post election violence. His change in stance came after the cabinet decided to adopt a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) in order to avoid prosecuting anyone.

By adopting the TJRC route, the cabinet wanted to appease those within its ranks implicated in planning and funding the mayhem that resulted in over 1,300 deaths and half a million homeless. Among those linked to the violence are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Agriculture Minister William Ruto, Tourism Minister Najib Balala and Culture Minister William ole Ntimama. Faced with a choice between establishing a Special Tribunal or taking the suspects to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, the Cabinet opted on Truth and Reconciliation in exchange for confession.

As a professional, Mutula should have voiced his reservations during the 6 hours that the Cabinet took to decide on TJRC. Instead, he is now playing to the public gallery in a pathetic attempt at winning public popularity. Perhaps he is hoping to emulate his predecessor at the Justice Ministry, Martha Karua, who resigned after falling out with President Mwai Kibaki. However, while Karua has been a consistent defender of human rights and democracy, the same cannot be said of Mutula.

Mutula was the blue-eyed boy of former President Daniel arap Moi and made billions of shillings in corrupt deals that cost the country massive amounts of money. Today, Mutula is among the richest people in Kenya. According to the Kumekucha website, Mutula was introduced to Moi in the 1980s by former Machakos KANU leader, the late Mulu Mutisya.

Mutisya is said to have heaped praises about Mutula’s exemplary ability to argue for his clients and his loyalty to Moi’s KANU party. The rest is history, Mutula became one of the president’s many lawyers and in the process got some of the most lucrative briefs including the NSSF (National Social Security Fund) where Kilonzo is known to have made Sh 900 million from the Fund in two deals. Towards the end of Moi’s tenure in office, Mutula was nominated to parliament by KANU.

A philanderer and notorious womanizer, Mutula’s amorous escapades are legendary as he is known to prefer women of light skin ranging from as young as 16 years. The man is now 62.

During President Mwai Kibaki’s first tenure of office, Mutula joined Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in aligning KANU with the Raila Odinga faction of Kibaki’s NARC party. Together, they campaigned against Kibaki during the 2005 Referendum on a proposed new constitution. This marked the beginnings of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

In 2007, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto fell out after Moi shifted his support to President Kibaki. Uhuru joined Kibaki’s side while Mutula Kilonzo stuck with Ruto and Raila. Later on, ODM split into the Raila Odinga and the Kalonzo Musyoka factions. Mutula shifted to the Kalonzo Musyoka side as Ruto continued supporting Raila. By some strange fate, all these personalities are now in government.

Due to Mutula’s allegiance to Kalonzo Musyoka (they are both from the Kamba ethnic group), his opposition to the Cabinet’s stand on TJRC has been interpreted as an attempt to eliminate Kalonzo’s rivals in the 2012 Presidential race. If Mutula’s wish for a Special Tribunal were to become a reality, then Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto will be eliminated as presidential candidates as they will be busy fighting criminal prosecution for the 2008 post election violence. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, having lost the support of William Ruto, Ntimama and Balala, will be in a weakened state. Infact, Ruto has vowed to bring down Raila should he be taken either before a Special Tribunal or to The Hague. That will leave Kalonzo at an optimal position to walk into State House.

Of course, Mutula has denied the allegations. He told the Standard newspaper that his determination to establish a Special Tribunal of international standards was not politically motivated. “That is laughable,” said the Mbooni MP, “I am a firm believer that reforms cannot be tied to an individual or any political party. Individuals come and go but the country will be there forever. Why would I want to cut my cloth just to suit 2012?”

“I am not going to make any amendments to these Bills and I can repeat this a thousand times. The Cabinet has a right to reject them but I will have no apologies. I have offered what is good for this country,” emphasized Mutula.

Good for the country? Coming from Mutula, that sounds like a sick joke.

Hillary’s real agenda in Kenya trip

by Scott A Morgan and our Staff Reporter

The US Secretary of State is making her first official visit to Africa and initial observations are that Mrs. Hillary Clinton is doing remarkably well in this capacity.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga with Hillary Clinton in Nairobi.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga with Hillary Clinton in Nairobi.

Her first stop was in Kenya and this was where two major concerns of the Obama Administration were being addressed. We all remember back in January 2008 when the country convulsed in an orgy of violence after a controversial presidential election. The country has a coalition government but has yet to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.

The other point of interest is Somalia. The US has had an interesting history in Somalia since the Cold War. First, the US and Somalia were allies after the Ogaden War of the late 1970s. US troops were in Somalia during the early 1990s which led to 18 elite US soldiers killed in a firefight. Now, piracy and Islamic extremism are the highlights of US concern over Somalia.

Kenya is at a critical point in its short post-independence history. The US government has intelligence reports indicating that Kenya’s future stability is in danger. Corruption, incompetent leadership and ethnic politics are to blame. This has resulted in shortages of food, water and electricity, which undermine the economy resulting in massive unemployment and discontent among millions of people.

Secretary Clinton had tough messages for President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga:

1). The US leadership supports radical reforms in Kenya’s institutions to end corruption and impunity.

2). US President Barack Obama’s administration wants a Special Tribunal to prosecute the masterminds of post election violence.

3). Action must be taken against individuals accused of extra judicial killings. The United Nations has linked Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali to the abduction and disappearances of thousands of people in the “War against Mungiki.”

4). If Kibaki and Raila fail to act, the US will impose travel bans against those implicated in post election violence. This means that certain cabinet ministers and high ranking government officials will be unable to travel to the US and its allies.

The US does not want Kenya to collapse, as this could complicate American geo-political strategies in the region. Currently, Kenya has a crucial role to play in the Horn of Africa. The port of Mombasa is the location where Somali pirates are brought after they are captured on the high seas. Kenya’s proximity to Somalia makes it a key point of interest to counter terrorism specialists in the US. There are some people who believe that Somalia could become to Kenya what Afghanistan is to Pakistan.

The US Secretary of State made two crucial statements regarding US interests in Somalia. First of all is the fact that the US will again be providing an arms shipment to Mogadishu. Earlier this year, the Obama Administration provided 40 tons of ammunition to the Transitional National Government as it attempts to keep the Al-Shabaab Islamist militia from gaining power.

And once again, the US had strong criticism for Eritrea and its reported involvement in Somalia. For several years the US, has accused Eritrea of supporting Islamist insurgents in Somalia. The situation in Somalia is not the only reason why relations between Asmara and Washington have become sour. Tensions between Eritrea and both Djibouti and Ethiopia are still simmering at this time. However the US has threatened to retaliate against Eritrea for its policies in Somalia.

Before some people get giddy over the idea of air strikes, there has to be time for economic sanctions to work. There are ample areas of concern regarding human rights in Eritrea as well, so there could be some action taken in the near future in the Horn of Africa. But some people may not think the action taken is tough enough.

Interestingly, Kenya expelled two Eritrean diplomats soon after Secretary Clinton’s visit but the Eritrean Ambassador to Nairobi has denied the claims.

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Scott Morgan publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet and comments on US policy in Africa. Confused Eagle can be found at morganrights.tripod.com

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Special Tribunal the best option, says Human Rights Watch

The Kenyan government has reneged on commitments to deliver justice for the victims of post-election violence, an international human rights body has said.

The High Court of Kenya in Nairobi.

The High Court of Kenya in Nairobi.

According to New York based Human Rights Watch, an independent domestic court with international participation is the best option to start establishing accountability. The Kenyan government should immediately adopt legislation to establish the special tribunal.

On July 30, 2009, the cabinet announced that, contrary to previous agreements, it would not establish a Special Tribunal, but would rely instead on a “reformed” national judicial system to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.

The July 30 announcement is a U-turn from the government’s previous position that the Kenya justice system is deeply flawed and that the regular courts were unlikely ever to bring senior politicians and government officials to face justice.

The recommendation of the Waki Commission on Post-Election Violence, which the government accepted and promised to implement in December 2008, was to establish a Special Tribunal independent of the High Court and with international participation to investigate and prosecute the suspects.

“Bringing justice to these victims is the most urgent test of the coalition government’s willingness to resolve Kenya’s crisis,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The cabinet just resoundingly failed that test.”

Georgette Gagnon

Georgette Gagnon

“The argument for a special tribunal has always been that the Kenyan judiciary lacks independence, and the necessary reforms of the entire justice system will take years,” Gagnon said. “The idea that the existing judicial system can deal with the senior politicians and government officials who allegedly incited and organized the killing is an insult to the memory of those who lost their lives.”

As recently as July 3, the Kenyan government agreed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor at The Hague that by the end of September it would set out clear benchmarks for a “special tribunal or other judicial mechanism adopted by the Kenyan Parliament.” The government had agreed that if there was no parliamentary agreement on such a mechanism, it would refer the case to The Hague.

Parliament rejected the draft legislation establishing the Special Tribunal in February, and since then, there has been no parliamentary debate, let alone agreement on the issue of how to deal with the suspects.

Kofi Annan, the chair of the panel of eminent Africans who negotiated the National Accord that led to the coalition government, repeatedly extended the time for the Kenyan government to take action on a national solution. On July 9, Annan handed over the Waki Commission’s evidence and its sealed list of suspects to the ICC, a step the commission had recommended in the event that a Special Tribunal was not established.

“After months of delay, the cabinet has finally declared that it is unprepared to carry out the principal task for which the coalition government was formed: to end Kenya’s decades of impunity,” Gagnon said. “The only credible option for the government to gain public confidence is to establish the Special Tribunal immediately or to refer the cases to the ICC.”

On July 27, foreign ministers of the European Union called on Kenya to establish the special tribunal, along with carrying out the broader reform agenda provided for in the National Accord.

“Reforms of the national judicial system are badly needed, but they alone will not bring to account perpetrators of the worst crimes committed during the post-election violence,” Gagnon said. “The US and Kenya’s other international partners should insist in no uncertain terms that, until an independent judicial mechanism is established in Kenya, there can be no ‘business as usual’.”

This week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also supported calls for a Special Tribunal.

Kenyans reject Truth Commission, local trials

The Grand Coalition has come under scathing attack from angry Kenyans, who have been dismayed by the decision to have a Truth Commission instead of criminal prosecution for the perpetrators of political and ethnic clashes.

President Mwai Kibaki addressing journalists last Thursday when announcing the controversial government decision.

President Mwai Kibaki addressing journalists last Thursday when announcing the controversial decision by the cabinet.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga want to shield their key allies from both the International Criminal Court or a Special Tribunal constituted in Kenya. Individuals implicated in organizing, funding or complicity in violence were seen grinning behind Kibaki as he announced that he was getting them off the hook.

Opinion polls show that a vast majority of Kenyans want the ruling classes to be stripped of their positions and face criminal charges at the International Criminal Court. There is widespread belief that the international justice process will be more credible than justice in Kenyan courts.

The sad reality is that, 18 months after post election violence, nobody has been jailed with most cases ending in acquittals. This has not inspired confidence among the estimated 500,000 survivors of the clashes. Most of them still survive in squalid camps with little government assistance.

Kenyans want a radical change in their governance structure. For many years, attempts at economic, social and political reforms have either been frustrated or hijacked by the ruling elite. Politicians have vast powers to appoint cronies to state positions and to allocate resources as they wish. Economic liberalization has only benefited the well-connected and Kenyan industry is dominated by companies allied to or owned by politicians. Corruption is the order of the day as nothing works without a word from “above.”

Today, recruitment into government jobs is a waste of time as politicians manipulate the process to benefit supporters from their ethnic groups. The recent recruitment of personnel for the August national census has been marred by favoritism and bribery. Rather than benefit the millions of unemployed youth, temporary census jobs have been allocated to teachers and civil servants already on the government payroll. In several districts, youths have vowed to disrupt the census unless the recruitment of enumerators is repeated.

Over the years, little has been done to fight corruption, ethnic violence and other crimes committed by the rich and powerful. This has fostered a culture of impunity because guilty parties do not suffer any consequences. Politicians in Kenya have become demi-gods who can get away with theft, murder, incitement and adultery. Moral rectitude among Kenya’s leaders has plummeted as they engage in torrid love affairs with married women from poor families. Girls seeking assistance for school fees or jobs are forced to perform sex acts, sometimes within parliamentary offices.

The culture of evil among Kenyan leaders has sparked bitterness among ordinary people. For many years, there was little that could be done about it as the masses suffered their indignities in silence. The prospects of sending powerful personalities to the International Criminal Court offers a chance at national renewal. As stated elsewhere in this website, the international justice process offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to purge the Kenyan political system of vermin pretending to be leaders.

Though the cabinet announced that it will support criminal prosecutions through the Judiciary, few expect this to happen. If anything, most of the talk was on “forgiveness and reconciliation.” Cabinet ministers repeated similar themes throughout the weekend at various public rallies as though they had been ordered to sell the idea to Kenyans.

As a measure of how far the government was willing to go in shielding ministers from international prosecution, President Kibaki candidly revealed that they considered withdrawing Kenya from the statutes that created the International Criminal Court.

“One of the options considered was withdrawal from the Rome Statute under Article 127 and repeal of the International Crimes Act, 2008,” said the President.

There has also been speculation that, because Kenya signed the International Crimes Act after the post election violence had subsided, there was a legal argument that the new law can only be applied after its been enacted. According to the Constitution of Kenya, a law cannot be applied on crimes committed prior to its inception.

It is clear that politicians are using every legal loophole to escape justice. Among those mentioned in various human rights reports are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Agriculture Minister William Ruto, Heritage Minister William ole Ntimama and Tourism Minister Najib Balala.

Political activist Mary Wambui, widely believed to be Kibaki’s second wife, has been implicated in organizing and funding ethnic militia.

Other prominent politicians who will face criminal charges in future include: Professor Peter Anyang Nyongo, Dr Sally Kosgey, Henry Kosgey, Elizabeth Ongoro, Franklin Bett, Kabando wa Kabando, Njenga Karume, John Pesa, Jayne Kihara, Ramadhan Kajembe and their respective supporters.

A host of councilors, security officers and political activists have been named by the Waki Commission of Inquiry and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

In the past few months, as pressure mounted on the government to act against the masterminds of political violence, the suspects have vowed to implicate both the President and Prime Minister. The argument has been that Kibaki and Raila benefitted from the violence and, therefore, cannot avoid responsibility. While Raila used mass violence to protest what he sees as electoral fraud that denied him the presidency, Kibaki was silent as violence raged on his behalf.

Kibaki, Raila find Truth Commission an easy way out

This is official government policy: the perpetrators of political and ethnic clashes will not be prosecuted but Kenyans should instead forgive and forget all past injustices.

kibaki_raila_composite

Anxious to avoid prosecuting their key allies, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga used the weekend trip to Nyanza Province to continually stress upon political and ethnic reconciliation in a move widely at odds with majority opinion in Kenya.

According to opinion polls, most Kenyans want the perpetrators of violence to face justice in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands. However, both the President and Prime Minister do not want to expose their key supporters to the vagaries of trials for crimes against humanity.

Over the past two weeks, another option has emerged which has turned out exceedingly popular with guilty politicians: a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).

The government is under international pressure to act against the masterminds of political and ethnic violence. Various investigations by a Kenyan judge, the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and other organizations have strongly implicated close allies of the President and Prime Minister in organizing and funding clashes that erupted around the December 2007 General Elections. At least 1,300 people were killed as half a million were evicted from their homes in tit-for-tat ethnic warfare.

The options so far have been a locally constituted Special Tribunal or to take the suspects to the International Criminal Court. The Truth Commission is now a third option.

On President Kibaki’s side, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has been named as a key organizer of ethnic violence. Others are Kibaki’s long time ally, Njenga Karume, Mukurweini legislator Kabando wa Kabando, former Naivasha legislator Jayne Kihara and a host of high ranking professionals and business people from the President’s Kikuyu ethnic group.

Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has a large cadre of its leadership implicated in the violence, as the worst of the clashes occurred in ODM dominated districts. Leading the pack is Agriculture Minister William Ruto, Tourism Minister Najib Balala and National Heritage Minister William ole Ntimama. Other ODM cabinet ministers linked to the ethnic killings are Franklin Bett, Dr Sally Kosgey and Professor Peter Anyang Nyongo. Ordinary members of parliament elected in the ODM party have also been mentioned. Indeed, ODM has been implicated in the violence so heavily that the party sees the investigations as a threat to its future.

The proposed Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) would be similar to one formed in South Africa following the end of Apartheid in 1994. The South African Commission – headed by respected cleric Desmond Tutu – granted amnesty to those accused of human rights violations in exchange for public testimony. Members of the security forces, intelligence agencies and black liberation movements gave chilling accounts of their actions over the previous four decades.

In a sense, a Truth Commission is like a Catholic confessional: forgiveness for sins after confessing.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Agriculture Minister William Ruto have presidential ambitions in the next General Elections scheduled for 2012. They both see the Truth Commission as a way of cleaning up their public profiles in time for campaigns. Uhuru is linked to the hiring of gangs of Kikuyu youth to engage in retaliatory attacks in the Rift Valley, while Ruto is accused of organizing or at least being complicit in Eldoret where his Kalenjin ethnic group attacked Kikuyu families.

Are Kenyans willing to forgive and forget everything that happened in 2007 and 2008?

Most Kenyans in opinion polls say that they never want a repeat of the near civil war that erupted in 2008. The only guarantee of long-term peace and stability in Kenya is by removing from power those responsible for ethnic and political clashes for the past two decades. Only a credible, internationally recognized judicial process can guarantee a future free from ethnic incitement. And nothing less than the ICC will satisfy Kenyans.

Therefore, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga joint calls for forgiveness have not been taken kindly by majority of Kenyans. The move is viewed as an opportunistic political gimmick aimed at protecting the two men’s close friends from facing the frying pan of justice. Infact, Kibaki and Raila want to save their own skins because those already named in connection with the violence have vowed not to go down alone.

William Ruto and legislators from his Rift Valley province have vowed to implicate the Prime Minister should they be taken before court. Obviously, Raila would not want to be branded as an ethnic warlord, even though video tapes and newspaper cuttings show him making rather controversial statements during the 2007 campaigns. During a campaign tour of the Mount Kenya area, Raila told the Kikuyu, Meru and Embu ethnic groups that they would “shed tears” should he win the presidency.

The Truth Commission has already run into controversy days after President Kibaki appointed former diplomat, Bethwel Kiplagat as its Chair. Kiplagat worked for many years as a top civil servant in the administration of former President Daniel arap Moi.

Critics say that Kiplagat never uttered a word objection in the 1980s and 90s when detention, torture and assasination was rife. Already, some victims of the 2008 post election violence have vowed not to appear before the Truth Commission citing its composition and its intended purpose of giving politicians an easy way out. Most of the Truth Commissioners have had little visibility in the past, even less on human rights advocacy.

Meanwhile, a group of dissident politicians have exposed a government plot to withdraw Kenya’s membership from the International Criminal Court. Former legislators Paul Muite and Koigi Wamwere says the Kenyan government wants to withdraw from the ICC in order to protect ministers likely to face trial for crimes against humanity.

Muite and Koigi were speaking in Mombasa during a court case where former Laikipia West member of parliament, G. G. Kariuki is charged with incitement. Kariuki told a recent public gathering that Kenyans should unite and overthrow the government.

Ocampo to open envelope today

Kenya’s leaders are in panic mode as International Crimes Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, opens an envelope with a list of top ten perpetrators of the 2008 post election violence.

Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, told the BBC that he will open the envelope today. However, Ocampo will not disclose the names contained in the list but will instead wait for Kenyan authorities to establish an acceptable local tribunal to prosecute those who planned, funded and executed the violence.

According to the laws that guide the International Criminal Court, Ocampo can only take over prosecutions if convinced that the Kenyan authorities lack the will and capacity to do it.

At least 1,500 people died in the worst violence since Kenya’s independence. The violence was the culmination of a five year power struggle between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. Today, the two men preside over a fractious coalition government, with Kibaki as President and Raila serving as Prime Minister.

Separate reports by international human rights bodies, the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights and a Judicial Commission found leading personalities responsible for the violence. Cabinet ministers, members of parliament, clergy, councillors and security officers were variously found guilty of oathing, funding, organizing and issuing orders that led to massive slaughter.

Political parties and journalists were responsible for perpetuating hate speech against rival ethnic groups.

To prevent a repeat of the violence, the international community wants Kenya to prosecute all those who planned and perpetrated acts of looting, killing, rape and mass dislocation. With the masterminds still firmly in control of the state and media apparatus, justice for the innocent victims of post election violence has become an uphill battle.

One and a half years after the violence, Kenyan courts have not convicted a single person.

Hague to purge Kenya’s political class

The International Criminal Court at The Hague will be the much-needed purge of Kenya’s leadership, heralding the rise of new politicians hopefully free from corruption, tribalism and pettiness.

In history and political science, a purge is the removal of people who are considered undesirable from an organization or from society as a whole. Purges can be peaceful or violent; many will end with the imprisonment or exile of those purged, but in some cases they will simply be removed from office.

Should the International Criminal Court (ICC) make good on its threats to prosecute top political leaders for the 2008 post election violence, none will be left to continue the ongoing misruling of the republic. Prominent personalities from the entire political spectrum will be swept away in a tsunami of justice whose effects will likewise transform Kenya’s social, economic and political landscape.

Opinion polls show that the vast majority of Kenyans want the ICC to immediately take over the cases of those behind the post election violence. Admittedly, it will be several years before the ICC actually jails any of the bigshots but a few years of waiting is a worthy price to pay if we want a new order in Kenya.

Shortcuts in justice – such as a local tribunal – will be so heavily manipulated that nothing will change in Kenya. Even the so-called Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be a mere slap on the wrist for people implicated in heinous crimes against men, women and children.

ICC Chief Prosecutor, Louis Moreno-Ocampo, may not know this but he could be the messiah that Kenyans have been praying for. For quite some time, Kenya has been at a critical juncture. Conspicuous greed and avarice by the ruling elite has sown the seeds for violent overthrow by the oppressed and impoverished populace. The only reason why there hasn’t been a mass rebellion in Kenya is because nobody has risen up to be the torch-bearer.

By arresting, prosecuting and jailing the persons responsible for Kenya’s woes, the ICC could avert violent revolution in Kenya and therefore save uncountable lives. When Kenyans see the international justice system at work getting rid of their oppressors, there really will be no need to rise up against each other. However, if the ICC dilly-dallies and succumbs to the wishes of Kenya’s cruel and corrupt leaders, then the world should brace itself for continued ethnic strife in the country.

There comes a time in the history of any nation when a purge is necessary. Just like a tree revitalizes itself by shedding old leaves in order to grow new ones, Kenya has no choice but to discard a parasitic ruling class. The ICC is the tool to make this happen.

Charges Kibaki and Raila will face at The Hague

President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and their loyalists will answer charges of planning, financing and executing the deaths of at least 1,500 people in the period between December 2007 and April 2008.

political_toilet

Kibaki will answer charges relating to the use or misuse of the security services while Raila will be called upon to account for the actions of his supporters who were recorded in the international media chanting, “No Raila, No peace!!”

For Kibaki, the abductions, torture and disappearances of thousands of suspected Mungiki members could very well become a serious issue at The Hague. Kibaki lieutenants Uhuru Kenyatta, Njenga Karume, Kabando wa Kabando, Professor George Saitoti and others will answer for their roles in organizing revenge attacks by militia groups such as Mungiki. Prof Saitoti may face trial because he was appointed Minister for Internal Security in January 2008 as the violence began to peak. Saitoti is also on record as supporting the extra-judicial executions of Mungiki members (EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, its confusing, but The Hague will determine once and for all who ordered which killings).

Raila cohorts, William Ruto, Professor Peter Anyang Nyongo, Najib Balala, Jackson Kibor, John Pesa among many others will explain their utterances which were widely broadcast across the world and whose tapes are still in the possession of media houses. Raila will be held to account largely on the basis that the cries of “No Raila, no peace,” were made by his supporters. William Ruto will be forced to explain why severe ethnic violence took place in his backyard and why most of the victims blame him.

Nyong’o is on record justifying violence with arguments that, “one tribe cannot be allowed to dominate the country.” Kibor admitted on BBC radio of his involvement in ethnic cleansing at the Rift Valley while John Pesa is quoted instructing his constituents to take over businesses owned by migrant ethnic groups.

Najib Balala made the infamous “Lesotho” remark and has been implicated in funding violence at the coastal city of Mombasa. According to the Waki Report on Post Election Violence, Mombasa youths were given a daily stipend to engage in widespread looting of homes and businesses owned by immigrant ethnic groups.

Ethnic warlords find Truth Commission an easy way out

Faced with criminal charges for the deaths of 1,500 people, Kenya’s ruling elite now find the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission a convenient means of escaping jail.

Since it became obvious last year that punishment had to be meted out on those who planned, financed and executed post election violence, there has been loud disagreement over what to do with the perpetrators. The dilemma is over whether to have a locally constituted Special Tribunal or whether to just take the suspects to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga are for a local tribunal. In fact, both men want Kenyans to “forgive and forget” the whole mess – their mess.

With a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), all one has to do is confess all the gory details of their crime and get an amnesty! With such confessions, the culprits of post election violence will sanitize themselves early enough for the 2012 General Elections! How convenient!

It is unfortunate that a respected personality such as Bethwel Kiplagat can propose the TJRC as a means of solving Kenya’s woes. Doesn’t he realize that people responsible for killings and rape will literally walk away scot free? But then, Ambassador Kiplagat has vested interests in the formation of a TJRC for he is slated to become a top commissioner, if not its head. But is it possible that this hitherto respected personality could stoop so low as to demean the concept of justice just for the sake of getting a job? Well, among Kenya’s cruel and corrupt elite, greed and avarice know no limits.

Other people proposed for the TJRC include former Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi and Presbyterian Church of East Africa clergyman Timothy Njoya. The rest are: Dr Maria Nzomo, Dr Elizabeth Muli, Tom Ojienda, Timothy Njoya, Dr Joseph Aluoch, Betty Murungi, Margaret Shava, Thomas Letangule, Abubakar Zein Abubakar, Joyce Miguda Majiwa, Tecla Namachanja, Maj Gen (rtd) Ahmamed Sheikh Farah and Dr Daadab Mohammed.

This list of names consists of people who have been hobnobbing with the political class for countless decades. Many in the above list have previously gotten high profile jobs thanks to lobbying by their political allies. Clearly, Kenyans should not count on the impartiality of the TJRC and its formation will promote impunity because those who have committed crimes against humanity will never be punished.

The best way – indeed the ONLY way – of ensuring that the events of 2007 -2008 are not repeated is to prosecute those implicated in funding, planning and participating in violence. Right now, the only mode of justice that Kenyans want is for the International Criminal Court to take over all cases and issue life jail terms to the likes of William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta and their cronies, most of whom are easily identifiable.

Kenyans are looking upon International Criminal Prosecutor, Louis Moreno-Ocampo for the much needed purge of an oppresive ruling clique.

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UPDATE:

Former UN chief Kofi Annan has now sent the envelope containing the list of post poll violence perpetrators to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Read this breaking story and reactions by Kenyans >>

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Negative growth for Kenya’s economy in 2010

Thanks to political instability, water shortages, impending power rationing and now Swine Flu, Kenya’s economy will experience negative growth for the first time in almost a decade.

Apart from the ravages of drought, Kenyan dams suffer from massive siltation as seen in this picture of the waters behind Kiambere Dam.

Apart from the ravages of drought, Kenyan dams suffer from massive siltation as seen in this picture of waters behind Kiambere Dam.

A collapsing economy will further add to the woes of a shaky coalition government in a country where the redistribution of national resources has become a catchy slogan.

The closure of the Masinga Hydro Electric Dam last week highlighted the effects of a two-year drought on electricity production. The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has said that it will close a second dam by September if rains don’t fall soon. Unfortunately, the next rainy season in that particular part of Kenya is expected in October, meaning that more dams might close.

Kenya’s industrial and domestic electricity users, face two unpalatable choices: either continue paying for electricity at current rates but experience rationing, or: pay higher prices for oil-fired generators in order to have a steady electricity supply. Neither choice appeals to an economy still suffering the effects of post election violence.

Kengen and the Kenya Power & Lighting Company (KPLC) have been criticized for poor planning in national electricity production. The current drought was predicted months ago and both companies should have taken contingency measures. Instead, Kenya will be forced to rely on so-called “emergency generators,” some of which have been in “emergency use” for the past 10 years! Needless to say, there is lots of money to be made by oil suppliers at the expense of impoverished Kenyans.

Kengen and KPLC do not have a monopoly in poor planning, though. The country’s water providers have literally been caught napping by the ongoing drought. The city of Nairobi is likely to experience a disease outbreak as water supplies become scarcer. The main dam at Ndakaini will dry up in the next few months unless a miracle brings forth torrential rains. The city’s second dam at Sasumua collapsed in 2002 and is only now getting repaired.

Water supplies in other cities are in a sorry state. Kisumu, which lies on Lake Victoria, has not had a fresh water supply for decades and cholera outbreaks are common. The water crisis in Kisumu is so bad that most industries left the lakeside city long ago. Mombasa still relies on the colonial-era Mzima Springs project for much of its supply. Meanwhile, deforestation and land degradation have squeezed the life out of the country’s rivers, with most reduced to seasonal streams.

And just when the tourism industry thought that it had weathered the effects of post election violence, along comes SWINE FLU! Truly, the job of marketing Kenya to overseas tourists must be a terribly frustrating experience! The post election violence of 2008 brought the tourism industry to its knees, as travellers fled a near civil war. Today, tourist numbers are nowhere close to pre-2007 levels and the Swine Flu outbreak will further discourage visitors.

Back in the year 2000, massive power rationing and water shortages resulted in two consecutive years of negative economic growth. Industries closed and the ensuing retrenchments reduced overall consumer spending. The shrinking economy of the closing years of Daniel arap Moi’s presidency contributed a lot to the loss of KANU in the 2002 General Elections. Incidentally, the tourism industry was also depressed in the year 2000 due to political violence surrounding the 1997 elections. (Do you see a recurring trend here …?)

This time, the economic situation will be worsened by the highest government expenditure in Kenya’s history. President Mwai Kibaki has created hundreds of districts for political reasons, each requiring administrators, offices and staff. The gigantic cabinet of 42 is straining the economy, what with astronomic salaries, bodyguards and fuel guzzling SUVs.

As political temperatures rise towards the 2012 elections, Kibaki will be under pressure to embark on massive development spending to boost economic growth. Nobody knows where the money will come from. The only source of funds currently open to the government is taxation but any increases in taxes will alienate industrialists and the professional classes.

A shrinking economy will cause greater hardships for the average Kenyan. It will spark political instability as elements of the ruling elite fight it out for diminishing national resources needed to buy support. Industries will relocate from Kenya or close all-together. Job losses are inevitable, and the stability of the country will be tested once more.

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