President Kibaki at press conference today.
In an unprecedented and unexpected move, President Kibaki announced at a press conference today that he has ordered Prof. Githu Muigai, a man the president basically flipped the public the middle finger and appointed as as his Attorney General, to advise him on how to proceed regarding the ICC ruling.
This is not only an unprecedented and unexpected move, it is basically comical, if it was not about a serious matter.
How can the president order the Attorney General to constitute a team to advise him on a matter any competent lawyer can take about 5 minutes to tell him what the government’s options are and 3 of those minutes will be spent on pleasantries about the weather, traffic or whatever people who meet the president for the first time must awkwardly try to say before having their minute with the president to state their plea, if assuming the lawyer was plucked off the streets on Harambee Avenue and is unknown to the president?
Is there any doubt the first and obvious thing the president must do consistent with the letter and spirit of the constitution, is to ask both Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura to immediately step aside, if not altogether tender their resignations?
Beyond that, what other options there are, depend on whether we are talking about the government and for that matter, the people’s interests or the narrow political interests of the president.
As far as the government and therefore the public interest is concerned, the president must pledge his continued, unequivocal and unconditional cooperation with the ICC in all these matters.
The president alluded in his speech that he still clings to the hope that these cases can be brought back to Kenya for trial but, unfortunately, the reasons he cited are just not enough to convince the ICC that the country now has what it takes to pursue justice for the PEV victims as well as bringing closure to this tragic chapter of our history.
The time to have done all of this, is in the past.
That’s is not to say the reforms the president cited have not occurred, they have but not enough to overcome the widespread believe none of the suspects cannot circumvent the system for a desired outcome, and that is a verdict regardless of the facts.
If the president wants to embarrass himself and the country with yet another shuttle diplomacy, let him do so but that would be tantamount to flipping the country the middle finger again but this time with far more serious consequences in as far it would reverse what progress he has made in redeeming his legacy.
The more than 1000 people who died and the thousands who are still displaced due to PEV and equally important our resolve to be a country that respects the rule of law is far more important than protecting the interests of a handful of individuals, who may or may not be guilty as charged.
The fact that these serious charges have now been confirmed, however, means that the least that can be expected of them, is not to hold public office until and unless these matters are addressed to a conclusion.
In other words, even though these individuals’ guilt or innocence has not been adjudicated, the very fact that the charges against them have been confirmed goes to show they are at least not innocent and therefore there is reason to find out why or why not.
That’s what trials do, namely, not necessarily to exonerate the innocent–that usually should occur before the charges are confirmed, but to determine whether or not the charged are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A finding of not guilty is not necessarily a finding that one is innocent of the charges leveled against them; it merely means the government could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are innocent.
Other than arguably Kosgey, every one of the Ocampo Six suspects did something that resulted in PEV and the ICC prosecutor charged them as being the most responsible for the violence, displacement and deaths of PEV victims.
The question is, is what they did rise to the level of crimes against humanity and can the ICC prosecutor prove that case beyond reasonable doubt.
It would therefore defy logic and even common sense to say anyone being charged with these serious crimes can be left to hold office pending trial when Deputy Justice Nancy Baraza is literally about to be run out of town for merely pinching someone’s nose, if she did and even if its over the more serious charge of brandishing a gun, it still pales in comparison to the crimes the Ocampo 4 now must face the prosecutor to answer at trial.
It would be hypocrisy of the highest order and an unacceptable major flipping of the middle finger against PEV victims and the country at large for anyone to try and come up with any reason justifying these two individuals, Uhuru and Muthaura, remaining in office pending trial.
There is little doubt the president’s announcing that he is forming a legal team to advise him what to do, is an effort to buy time in the hopes of coming up with another unprecedented and presently unimaginable move to stall or wish away public thirst for an end to impunity or at for at least commitment to seek justice for PEV justice but such efforts is merely stalling the inevitable and that is, Uhuru and Muthaura must step aside or the president will seal his legacy as one who put a blind fold on his eyes and refused to see the tears in the victim’s eyes crying for justice and the anguish of the many others who are still suffering from PEV.
That putting on those blinds is for the benefit of the president’s narrow political interests, is more so the reason he should remove them and do the right thing for no amount of serving personal political interests can ever be greater than at least even an effort to ensure those who died, did not die in vain and those suffering cannot continue suffering even more simply because of serving those narrow political interests.
The right thing for the president to do, is simply to ask Uhur and Muthaura to step aside pending trial and cooperate with ICC to the extent possible.
Peace, Unity and Truth