A diplomat has warned that the move last week by law makers to have Kenya pull out of the Rome Statute could jeopardise future search for international justice for Kenyans.
Canadian High Commissioner in Nairobi David Angell said pulling out of the Rome Statute, that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), would deal a blow to any future victims of violence that Kenyan judicial system would not handle.
What search for international justice? Kenya’s last Parliament did not follow suspect William Ruto’s “Don’t be vague, go to The Hague” lead out of a preference for “international” justice over trying the suspects locally–rather it was an excuse for not prosecuting anyone themselves. Likewise the last Parliament did not then turn around and vote in December 2010 to withdraw from the ICC as soon as the charges came down against Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Sang and the three others in consideration of the interests of “justice”. If the members of Kenyatta and Ruto’s Jubilee coalition who voted again to withdraw from the ICC on the eve of Ruto’s trial were in the least concerned about a “search for international justice” for victims of election violence–past or present–they would not have done so.
Kenyatta and Ruto as KANU leaders were on the side of election violence in Kenya in 1992 and 1997 and they certainly have not done anything to express remorse or “search for justice”–international or otherwise–for the victims. The very idea that there should be such a search for justice for victims of electoral violence is an affront to the political order in Kenya and on this Kenyatta and Ruto can easily circle the parliamentary wagons against the threat to their private sovereignty and that of their cohort.
The High Commissioner ought to appreciate that he is speaking to an audience which has, over many years, shown that it takes these thing deadly seriously. If the Canadians want to step into the current diplomatic vacuum in Nairobi to address the situation, I certainly applaud the intention, but they if they want to have influence they need to speak of things that their audience cares about.
The first two air deliveries of Biometric Voter Registration kits arrived in Nairobi from France today. Here is the story from The Star, with some additional background:
The IEBC met with President Kibaki on Monday during which they sought to assure him of their preparedness to oversee the election.
The meeting with Kibaki followed a similar one with Prime Minister Raila Odinga where the government undertook to pay the entire cost of procuring the kits from its own resources but with the expectation that the government of Canada would sign off the concessionary loan to refund the cost which has now risen to more than Sh9 billion.
The manufacturer, Morpho Inc of France, had demanded full payment before delivering the kits. At the time, the government had only paid 40 per cent of the cost. Government then signed a loan facility of Sh7.2 billion with Standard Chartered Bank to pay for the 15,000 kits to clear the balance.
A massive campaign to mobilise voters is expected to be put in place so as to attract a large number of Kenyans to register within one month due to time constraints.
“We want Kenyans to respond within a month because we will not extend the registration period. We will use the media and other available means to enhance our campaigns to target as many people as possible. We also expect politicians campaigning for various positions to pass this message to the targeted population,” Mr Hassan told a previous media briefing.
The delayed delivery of the equipment has been a major concern in the country forcing the shifting of various crucial timelines.
It seems to be “sorted” that the Canadian government will handle the purchase, funded as a “concessionary loan” of KSh 4.6M to the Government of Kenya, relieving the IEBC of the budgeted amount of KSh 3.9M for the procurement. Here are stories from the Standard and the Star.