The ICC decision to confirm charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, William Ruto and Joshua Sang marked yet another milestone in our country’s history for that decision is likely to have far reaching consequences beyond whether or not these suspects are found guilty or not.
One such consequence is the test of how serious we are about the meaning of the constitution we are all so happy to have promulgated.
The constitution provides in Chapter Six, among other things, that a person holding public office must “demonstrate respect for the people; brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office; and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office.”
Does a person who has been charged with crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and forceful displacement of people be said not to be barred by Chapter Six against holding or vying for public office, let alone the presidency?
This is the question the country faces and one that must be answered one way or the other—and very soon for the sake of country.
The other question is, who should answer the question?
The correct answer should be the Kenyan people.
In a true democracy, the elected representatives are supposed to represent the interests of the people while the judiciary is there not only as an arbiter of people’s grievances against one another and ditto for resolving other civil and criminal matters but, making sure the laws passed by the representative bodies are interpreted consistent with the people’s will as enshrined in their constitution.
A recent survey showed that 63% of Kenyans are ready to “throw the bums out” for one reason or another.
This then begs the question, would an act of Parliament on this very sensitive political hot potato be in the interest of these very people having such a low regard of that body?
Conversely, would the people accept such an act, especially given the intertwined interests between the Ocampo-4 and virtually all of the Members of Parliament?
Not to be overlooked, there are, of course, any number of others with a stake in the outcome who would be understandably trying to influence the outcome for their own political survival.
These are difficult but easy questions to answer.
We now have in place a new Supreme Court with a Chief Justice who has moved with great speed to show us what Chapter Six means in the context of his recent decision to initiate the process to remove or at least formally investigate and determine the fate of Deputy Justice Nancy Baraza.
It would therefore follow this very same Court should also be asked to tell us what the constitution says in answer to the question whether or not any of the Ocampo-4 can vie for public office, including the presidency.
This question cannot be answered in the political arena, even by the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission, whose decision is likely to be challenged and end up in the Supreme Court, anyway.
Indeed, as of this writing, several petitioners have filed a case seeking the court to declare that Uhuru and Ruto are not qualified to vie for the presidency under the constitution based on the ICC confirmation of the crimes against humanity charges against them.
Meanwhile, it would behoove those whose ICC charges were confirmed to take stock and examine their conduct whether it comports with what makes sense not just under the law, but as a matter of civility and humility.
The weekend rallies by Uhuru and Ruto clearly fly in the face of both.
The two are behaving as if the confirmation of charges against them has no meaning or consequence.
Indeed, Uhuru is daring anyone to remove him from office as DPM.
It is this kind of arrogance and disregard of the greater public sentiments that has seen the likes of Qaddafi hounded out of office and killed and others like Hosni Mubarak lying flat on their beds where they are confined wondering what happened.
Rather than calling rallies to laugh at PEV victims for ICC charges being confirmed against them and rather than thumbing their nose at the very people they purport to seek office to represent as president, Uhuru and Ruto are better served to humble themselves to the fact they face very serious criminal charges and try and figure a way to defend against those charges.
ICC will remain unimpressed with how many rallies or how large a following these two have in Kenya, especially when convinced the two are thumbing their noses at the court as well.
The world is changing fast as to how much impunity can be tolerated and Kenya is no exception.
Nobody is saying these suspects are guilty as charged, but there is a line we must all draw as a country and these two individuals seem to have already crossed it to where are now taunting Kenyans to dare remove them from office.
They should be removed from office on that daring alone as it is in contravention of Chapter 6 of the constitution, and that is in addition to the Chapter being violated already by Uhuru Kenyatta’s continued serving as DPM.