At Easter, chicks come home to roost for U.S. for helping to underwrite impunity in Kenya; but “we” do not need Uhuruto

The United States looked the other way on a stolen 2007 election in Kenya.

Even though our Ambassador himself saw the changed tally forms at the Electoral Commission in Nairobi. We supported a “settlement” that created a temporary prime minister spot, without defined authority, for the apparent winner (not only did the exit poll done at the instance of the Ambassador and funded by USAID show a substantial win for the opposition candidate Odinga, but a separate State Department analysis in January concluded “advantage Raila.”).  “We” nonetheless called on Kenyans to accept the “results”. While we withdrew our congratulations to Kibaki and later asserted that we did not know who won, we were not willing to be publicly honest about what “we” had seen at the ECK as well as what else we did know.

To help pressure for a settlement, we eventually issued “visa ban” letters to three members of the Electoral Commission on the basis of evidence of bribery–but we never revealed this fact or the evidence–it only came to light through stolen cables published in the Daily Nation years later.

We rejected accountability for election theft–thus supporting impunity in this regard.  We supported, in concept, justice for the the post-election killings and mayhem. We had a hybrid position; let’s call it “limited, modified impunity”. Of course, the reality is that our supposed solution of “local tribunals” in Kenya for the post-election violence was always a complete pipe dream under the “power sharing” government we helped broker because that government was never going to implement any such thing.

Thus the role of the International Criminal Court as a last resort due to the initiative of the commission led by Justice Waki to provide the names to the ICC as a fallback.  We should pat ourselves on the back, I suppose, for helping to pay for the commission at least. Likewise, we have over the subsequent years now declined to go along with the aggressive activities of the Government of Kenya in requesting action from the UN Security Council to squelch the ICC’s prosecution, so we have at least refused to stand in the way of the ICC.  At the same time, we haven’t seemed to accomplish anything very noticeable on the protection of witnesses and the other core issues that enshrine impunity in Kenya.

Now, just like in 2007, we have helped pay for another flawed election, this time one which has ended up with a victory for the ticket of “Uhuruto” composed of the two leading politicians charged by the ICC for allegedly having key responsibility for the instrumental political killings of 2008. While it appears plausibly that Uhuruto on March 4 had a higher percentage of support than did Kibaki in 2007, it is also clear that there were substantial irregularities in the handling of the election, over a period of many months, by the “new and improved” IEBC–which was in fact caught even within the Kenya government itself, engaging in unlawful procurement corruption in regard to key technology–technology which was supposed to provide safeguards against the shambolic 2007 tallying process, but failed to be deployed or work.

So after an extraordinary sum of perhaps $240M was spent on an election with only somewhere around 14M registered voters (not sure exactly how many since the register was a series of 33,400 separate paper print outs which were reported by the IEBC to be unavailable for review in the Supreme Court)–we ended up with the same manual count fiasco as in 2007.  More system purchases were more opportunities to “eat”, not more reliability.

The IEBC was perceived as being corrupted on both sides instead of stacked completely only on one side like the ECK last time–but there was no one individual trusted like Kivuitu to let everyone down this time. In one respect that helped diffuse the prospect of violence because the voters this time were much more subdued and had lower expectations–and knew what could happen. And there were some other things different this time based on lower expectations from the “international community”–the observer groups spoke out early to bless the IEBC before it was anywhere close to completing its tally and gave it some cover for whatever it would chose to do. Last time, only IRI really did that–and it was rightly criticized for doing so as the count became problematic.  This time, private conversation before the election about what to say hearkened back to what observers had said in the first full blown observations of Kenya’s first multi-party elections in 1992 under Moi–the terminology “reflects the will of the Kenyan people” as a way to say the process run by the Government of Kenya could not stand scrutiny but the official candidate had a plurality anyway. The difference being that this time Kenyans had passed a new Constitution that was supposed to end the old first-past-the-post system in favor of a runoff-to-majority that meant that the opposition did not have to unite behind one candidate ahead of time to have any chance against a minority candidate supported by the State.

The U.S. knew, and Kibaki and his supporters, including Uhuru Kenyatta, knew that in 2007 we gave the Government of Kenya a pass on election rigging.  This time we didn’t step in and blow the whistle on procurement corruption or otherwise as the process moved towards its unsuccessful conclusion–and we gave the powers that be in Kenya no real reason so far as I know to believe that we had really changed the terms of the deal from 2007.

Now we have another incoherent vote count, but everyone is relieved that major violence did not erupt.  The new Electoral Commission argued to the Supreme Court that the Court could not set aside the IEBC’s pronounced premature results on the basis of the irregularities that had been revealed so far, or the known uncertainties, because to do so would create a constitutional crisis–the only way to have another election would be to use the same flawed register and the same flawed Electoral Commission itself.  In other words, the Court did not, according to the IEBC, really have the power to challenge its work and its decision which was now fait accompli.  The Court announced its ruling–at the last allowable moment (a few hours later than the two weeks permitted if it were as strict with itself as it was with those before it)–yet could not muster any explanation or reasoning whatsoever.  It declared itself to have the power, and to be exercising it, to ratify the IEBC’s result, but either couldn’t agree on why or was not comfortable saying until a future date–after the swearing in.

The bottom line here is that the United States has been helping to underwrite failure in Kenya for too long.  We got taken for a ride–again.  We ought to have more self respect.

The British government has groveled to “get right” with an incoming Uhuruto administration, but we simply do not need to do so.

We provide a disproportionate amount of aid to Kenya–officially roughly a Billion U.S. Dollars each year–unofficiallly I am sure there is more; not to mention extensive private aid that also helps alleviate the suffering of Kenyans left adrift by the corruption and bad priorities of their governments.  As far as I can see, we spend a lot of money in Kenya for sentimental rather than legitimate programmatic reasons.  And the restaurants and resorts are more upscale and Kenya is more oriented for tourism accompanying official travel and postings.  But a lot of the tourist infrastructure is owned by the Kenyatta and Moi families themselves.  We ought to grow up and take our responsibilities more seriously.

What has all this spending been adding up to aside from bad elections?  Kenya’s Human Development Index score for 2000 was .513 for a “Medium Human Development” ranking of 134th among the scored countries.  The 2012 score was .519, for a rank of 145th.  Among the 45 “Low Human Development” countries Kenya stands out, along with Zimbabwe for having by far the highest “Mean Years of Schooling”.  Yes, from 2000 to 2012 Kenya’s GDP per capita increased by roughly fifty percent–it just didn’t result in much relative overall human development progress for the country as a whole.

The Cold War has been over for almost 25 years.  What we have been doing has not been working very well and we can do better.

More links for Kenya’s Election; Chief Justice’s “bombshell” press conference; Debate loses a “horse”

Kenya Voting: "Curriculum Cooking"

AllAfrica.com has put together a special feature page on the Kenyan elections that is a good source for the latest stories from the main Kenyan media sources:  “Kenya Decides: 2013 Elections”. (h/t @GeorgetownDG)

On Thursday, February 28, the Institute for Security Studies Nairobi office will host a “Seminar on Kenya’s 2013 Elections: issues, actors and scenarios.”  Register on-line through the link.

IRIN has published on on-line “multimedia documentary” entitled “No Ordinary Elections” which does a nice job of informing an international audience of the basic context of the upcoming Kenyan election and includes good interviews discussing humanitarian concerns and preparations in general terms.  A work of art in internet publishing.

In the latest developments, there is a lot of buzz in the human rights community regarding the announcement by Chief Justice Mutunga at a press conference today that he had received a letter threatening judges and others regarding any ruling against the candidacy of Uhuru Kenyatta purporting to be from a Mungiki-associated group, Further, as reported in the Star story “Chief Justice Raises Concern Over Threats to Judges”:

The CJ also revealed that he was asked by an immigration officer at the JKIA to seek travel clearance from the Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia a day after the letter was posted.

“I was stopped at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by an Immigration Officer, who insisted that I could not travel because I had not been cleared by Mr. Francis Kimemia, the Permanent Secretary, Head of the Public Service, and Secretary to the Cabinet.” Mutunga said.

The CJ further asked Inspector General of police David Kimaiyo to take the necessary steps to protect judges from threats and intimidation so as not to give constitutional rulings. “The Judiciary will not flinch from interpreting the constitution as required. The constitution must be guarded jealously,” He said.

From The Standard: CJ Mutunga bombshell”.

From the Daily Nation: “Chief Justice Speaks Out on Threatening Letter.”

Obviously a lot of difference among the media houses in how to report this.  Thus the need to read widely to put together the pieces in getting the facts and understand the interests.

While I would completely reserve judgement as to exactly what to make of the threatening letter, the “immigration” harassment is disturbing in light of Kenya’s short but unduly “colorful” history involving politics at these highest levels.  Certainly the President himself should address this if he wants to reassure the country at a time in which no one needs any more tension than can be helped.

This has overshadowed the other big political story of the day, that Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign has announced that he will drop out of the second presidential debate scheduled for Monday, complaining of the allegedly unfair amount of emphasis on the charges he faces from the International Criminal Court and “ganging up” by the other candidates on this point.

My sense of the political strategy here would be that Kenyatta feels he is in solid position to make a runoff, and not in striking distance to win in the first round, so there is nothing major to be gained from another debate, while there are risks from undesired questions and unscripted situations.  He has plenty of money and media access as a top candidate so he probably doesn’t feel a need to share the stage to  communicate whatever he wants to say in the last days of the campaign.  Likewise, part of his approach since the ICC charges have been confirmed has been to portray himself as a victim of other politicians and interests, so claiming that he was treated unfairly in the debate fits with that theme, too.

What does Kenya’s High Court ruling on the civil society challenge to Uhuru and Ruto eligibility for election say about the state of Kenya’s judiciary?

The Nairobi media reporting is a bit garbled but the gist of things is that the Kenyan High Court (as opposed to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court) has dismissed a petition filed some months ago by civil society groups, including significantly the Kenyan Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists, challenging the eligibility of many of the candidates for President of Kenya on the basis of the “integrity” provisions of the new Kenyan Constitution.

Almost 13 months ago I posted that it was time for Kenya’s judicial system to answer the question posed regarding the application of these constitutional provisions to the candidacy of those facing confirmed charges from the International Criminal Court.  Unfortunately, even though the election has ended up being set for a delayed date, the Kenyan court system has still managed to let the clock seemingly run out without reaching any clarity or finality, such that the election is expected to proceed with the “Uhuruto” ticket on the ballot.

Without having a copy of an opinion yet, from the media reports, the High Court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over the challenge because the constitution vests exclusive jurisdiction in the Supreme Court over challenges involving the nomination and election to the presidency and that further the jurisdiction of the Kenyan courts and ICC was concurrent and with the ICC case proceeding only the ICC could bar the indictees from running for office.

As an American rather than Kenyan lawyer, and having not read the opinion, I don’t want to go too far into the details here, but I would note that (1) Ruto as opposed to Uhuru is no longer running for president, so the practical question now for his eligibility is distinguishable; (2) the High Court has original jurisdiction to interpret the provisions of the constitution, which seems to me to clearly be the issue here–as opposed to a more ordinary nomination or election challenge which would seem to me to be a more plain way to interpret the various constitutional provisions as a whole.

Here is a long quote from the Daily Nation story “Jubilee, Cord plaud ruling on eligibility case”:

Mr Odinga on his part said he respected the ruling saying that the court had held that in matters relating to the presidential election, the Supreme Court had ‘exclusive and original jurisdiction.’

“I have repeatedly said that my main competitor should have the opportunity to face me in a free and fair election whose outcome is determined by the people of Kenya,” said Mr. Odinga upon hearing of the Court’s decision.

But Restore and Build Kenya (RBK) presidential candidate Prof James Ole Kiyiapi accused the judges of failing to give Kenyans directions on matters of integrity.

“By declaring that they lack jurisdiction, Kenyan courts have failed to give the country direction on matters of integrity as outlined in chapter six of the constitution,” he stated.

The five High court judges – Mbogholi Msagha, Luka Kimaru, George Kimondo, Pauline Nyamweya and Hellen Omondi – dismissed a petition filed by civil society groups challenging Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto;s suitability to run for the presidency and deputy presidency as they face serious crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Judges ruled that despite the serious nature of the crimes facing Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto at the ICC, they are still presumed innocent until the contrary happens.

“It is common knowledge the two have been indicted but since Kenyan courts and the ICC are of concurrent jurisdiction, we cannot adjudicate over the same matter. Only the ICC can bar them to run for public office,” ruled the judges.

They ruled that the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear any petition relating to presidential candidates’ nomination.

So I tend to agree with Prof. Ole Kiyiapi that the High Court has ducked the issue and left a real lack of clarity as to the meaning of the constitution.  The problem is appeals and further proceedings are now unlikely to have time to be resolved before March 4.

Kenya’s National Council of Churches (NCCK) sticks up for EU envoys; TJRC slammed; and an optimistic view for March 4

The Star: “NCCK Warns Uhuru, Ruto over the Hague”:

“It will not be easy running a government while away as compared to from State House, but we ask Kenyans to exercise their discretion and vote as they want,” said NCCK Secretary General Rev Canon Peter Karanja yesterday after a two-day meeting at the Jumuia Conference and Retreat Centre in Limuru.

The High Court is due to rule tomorrow if Uhuru and Ruto are eligible to contest the presidency on grounds of integrity. “We ask for the law to be followed as we await the court ruling on Friday,” he said.

The press conference was attended by the NCCK chairperson Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogoh, deputy secretary Oliver Kisaka and Zion Harvest Mission Bishop Nicolas Oloo.

The council condemned the recent criticism of diplomats who stated last week that there will be “consequences” if Kenyans elect Uhuru and Ruto as president and deputy president.

“NCCK appreciates the interests of the foreign missions, European Union and African Union, because they helped us when the country went haywire and it is not fair to ridicule them,” he said.

The NCCK statement warned against tribal balkanization, called for more voter education by the IEBC, urged politicians to focus on issues, and asked President Kibaki to gazette the new National Land Commission.

CapitalFM: “KNHCR slams Truth Commission as Sham”.  The official Kenya National Human Rights Commission denounced the failure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established as part of the settlement following 2008’s post-election violence to produce and release a report ahead of the March 4 election.  The report was due by 2011.

Wycliffe Muga’s column in The Star this week, “Why There Will be No Violence,” explains his optimism:

. . . .

Actually, I am pretty sure that it won’t happen again. This election is going to be totally different from the 2007 one in three crucial respects:

First, we have an electoral body which only came into being through a process involving a broad consensus. Thus the IEBC, despite all its organisational weaknesses, is thus totally unlike the old ECK which President Kibaki openly stuffed with his cronies just before the election.

Then we have a new judiciary, the members of which have been subjected to public vetting, often of a very humiliating kind. And although there are those among us who still regard the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga as an ear-stud-wearing poseur, who has yet to prove his mettle, nonetheless no loser in any election can convincingly argue that “there is no point” in seeking justice from this judiciary.

Finally, we now have the ICC entrenched in our national life in a way which was inconceivable before the post-election violence came upon us. Those of us who knew anything of the ICC prior to this, tended to think that it was set up to try Serb militia chiefs; Congolese and Liberian warlords; and the likes of Joseph Kony.

Now we know better. And, more significantly, our top politicians know better. They know that the moment they send out any street gangs or private militias to do their dirty work, they have effectively supplied the ICC with the witnesses who will one day – from the safety of Europe – turn up in fine suits to offer evidence against them.

. . . .

 

When did Ruto and Uhuru fight? And why is the “Uhuruto” alliance allegedly so surprising?

Today is the third anniversary of the “AfriCommons Blog”, so let me celebrate by being a bit direct.

I lived in Nairobi with my family during the last Kenya elections campaign and the duration of the post-election violence. I certainly saw both Uhuru and Ruto in Nairobi during the uncertain post election period, and they were on local television as well–serving in Parliament together and carrying out their functions as members of the political class. Never saw either with a police rifle, a panga or a can of petrol. No recollection of seeing either of them in the slums or other types of neighborhoods where most of the violence in Nairobi took place.

Rather, the ICC has accused them of being involved in the incitement, organization and funding side of the organized part of the post election violence or PEV.

I don’t recall ever seeing any indication that the two had any type of personal animosity between them or couldn’t get along between themselves. Could be, but not necessarily obvious from the context of funding militias and gangs in the hinterlands on opposite sides of a political tussle. In terms of the political debate it was Martha Karua that squared off with Ruto during the ECK “vote counting” at the KICC and the post-election negotiations.

When I moved to Kenya in June 2007, less than seven months before the elections, Uhuru and Ruto, along with Mudavadi, Raila and Kalonzo were in ODM-K (later to become ODM) and all were running against each other for the opposition presidential nomination through their mutual coalition. Uhuru was KANU leader and titular Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. They were all rivals, but all against Kibaki. Uhuru and Kalonzo split off the main ODM, with Kalonzo running as ODM-K nominee as a “third party” and Uhuru switching sides to Kibaki/PNU, presumably at least in part because he could not hope to get re-elected to his seat in Parliament in Central Province otherwise. (And maybe he was looking to 2012/13.)

If there was a question of anyone not getting along personally, it was more about Kalonzo and Raila than Uhuru and Ruto.

It just seems naive to me to be especially surprised that Uhuru and Ruto would hook back up–and most especially so when they are in a serious jam together with the ICC charges.

Did Uhuru oppose Moi because of Moi’s role in the related violence in the Rift Valley around the 1992 and 1997 elections? Seems to me he stayed in KANU and was anointed as Moi’s candidate for the succession in 2002. Perhaps if he did, as accused, get involved in using the Mungiki in post-election violence in Naivasha and elsewhere, could it have been for instrumental political reasons rather than some atavistic “tribalism”? Has Ruto ever supported a non-Kalenjin candidate before? (hint: Uhuru in 2002)

News on Uhuru’s public relations consultants

Former Tory PR advises Kenyan facing Hague trial, the Sunday Independent.

The Independent broke the story that Ed Staite, former advisor to the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been part of a “team operating from offices in London and Nairobi are trying to neutralise criticism of Mr Kenyatta in the run-up to the general election in Kenya and his trial next year.”

After being indicted, he instructed BTP Advisers, where Mr Staite is an associate.

The British firm’s involvement with the case has not been revealed until now. BTP’s media campaign over the next three months will involve online monitoring, including on Twitter, and digging up information on opposition candidates, said a source. Mr Staite made his reputation while advising Mr Osborne, then Shadow Chancellor, and looking after Boris Johnson.

He was recently involved in controversy when reporters posing as representatives of a City fund secretly recorded him saying that they could “communicate their priorities” by funding a “policy group”. He later denied that this was to buy influence with Mr Osborne.

 

The Sunday Times reported in a story published April 1 this year:

 THE former press offficer of George Osborne has been secretly filmed telling foreign financiers how to shape Tory policies in exchange for cash.

Edward Staite suggested to undercover reporters, posing as wealth fund executives, that they should fund a Tory policy unit on issues they wanted to promote. His comments appear to undermine the Tories’ insistence that donors do not get privileged access and have zero influence over policy.

The reporters met Staite on February 8 after his services were recommended by Sarah Southern, a lobbyist selling access to David Cameron. They explained they wanted political connections to help them buy British government assets such as Royal Mail.

 

 

Recent Kenya polling points to concern on voter registration, other issues

Most recently, a new Gallup poll indicates that most Kenyans who are identifying themselves as “registered voters” do not in fact have the required new voting cards.  This raises several concerns: a lack of “civic education” as to what is going to be required in order to vote and confusion as to who is eligible; a big job ahead to get voters registered for the upcoming election; questions about the reliability of the opinion polling in distinguishing “registered voters” from other respondents.  New Gallup release: “In Kenya: Most Registered Voters Lack Required Voting Card”.

The other significant development is continued campaign progress by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted by the ICC on “crimes against humanity” charges and facing trial scheduled shortly after the first round of voting.  The latest Synovate poll, as others have for months, show Prime Minister Odinga with a significant plurality lead, but Kenyatta continues to significantly outpace any rivals in second place.  See Tom Maliti’s reporting at ICC Kenya Monitor: “Poll: Kenyatta Makes Biggest Gains in Kenya Presidential Race”.  Kenyatta is now shown as running ahead of Odinga in a runoff.  A few months ago, Odinga’s runoff standing looked difficult in some match-ups; his numbers have risen and then now fallen back.

The election is months away and it doesn’t make sense to get too excited about each new poll that comes out, but there are points of significance here.  For one thing the polls continue to show that it is very difficult for any of the less established or “newer” candidates to get traction nationwide in a crowded field, leaving the scions of Kenya’s founding fathers who have previously run nationally and been national figures for many years as the primary contestants seen as viable.  For another, while polls continue to show majority support for the ICC process, large numbers of Kenyans are simply not put off by the charges against Kenyatta, and the fact and nature of the charges themselves seem to work to some degree in his favor in establishing him as the dominant candidate from the Central Province/Mt. Kenya area and among his fellow Kikuyu.

Odinga, on the other hand, seems to be having some difficulty in generating new momentum.  He’s been “the man to beat” since the last election so anyone who wants to bust open the race has to target him. The ethnic coalition that Odinga put together through his “Pentagon” that allowed him to poll the most votes nationally in 2007 (according to the exit poll and accounting for misconduct at the ECK) has proven itself to be for the most part a one-off campaign vehicle, like the competing ethnic coalition in Kibaki’s PNU.  Odinga has limited power as Prime Minister but is hamstrung in running as an opposition/reformist candidate–always his milieu in the past–as a “principal” of the “Government of National Unity”.

In a one-on-one runoff, a hypothetical Kikuyu candidate with a strong ethnic base starts with a big advantage over a hypothetical Luo candidate with a strong ethnic base.  Aside from the fact that there are nearly twice as many Kikuyu as Luo, the usual “tribal arithmetic” adds up more quickly from there for the Kikuyu. But neither Kenyatta nor Odinga is in the least bit “hypothetical”–they are unique individuals with strongly identifiable and well know strengths and weaknesses. “Tribalism” will matter and be a part of the campaigns, but it is not the only important factor. With the election five months away, there are many, many deals to be made and many of those to be broken or reconfigured before we really see what the lay of the land is in the presidential race.

It is not a bit too early, however, for the United States and other Western nations who have been much involved with Kenya these last few years to make some decisions about policy in terms of the interaction between the Kenyan presidential race and the ICC process.    In the U.S., this may quickly fall in the lap of a new administration.

Friday Uganda Event in Boston; Kenya reading

Friday event in Boston: “Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army: a State Department Perspective” at the BU Center for African Studies, 3pm

Jason Lewis-Berry, the Lead Foreign Affairs Officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations who has also served as Field Representative for Lord’s Resistance Army issues in Central Africa, will deliver this lecture @ BU. A Q&A session will follow.

“Kenya’s New Constitution: Political Musical Chairs and Inertia Taint Implementation” from the Institute for Security Studies:

27 August 2012 marked the second anniversary of the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution. Hailed by some as one of the most progressive constitutions in Africa because of its comprehensive and liberal bill of rights, the new charter has been facing implementation challenges with suggestions that sections of the legislature and executive are bent on influencing the process for political expedience.  .  .  .

For those preparing for the Kenyan election, I recommend Muthoni Wanyeki’s recent paper “The International Criminal Court cases in Kenya: origin and impact,” also published by the ISS.  Wycliffe Muga’s column in the Star concludes “we are heading for a truly divisive election”.

The U.S. Senate Malaria Working Group, headed by Sen. Chris Coon of Delaware (Senate Foreign Affairs Africa Subcommittee chairman) and my Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi announced this week expansion into the Senate Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.  Hopefully, the Senate will soon be taking up confirmation of the Administration’s nomination of the Chargé d’affaires Robert Godec as the new Ambassador.

Happy Saba Saba Day–and how is Kenya?

Today is the final “Saba Saba Day” in Kenya under the “Government of National Unity.” The presidential campaigns are in full swing and new political parties, alliances and temporary coalitions are announced and denounced weekly.

So how is Kenya?

To be positive, there are lots of important things right in Kenya (as always).

For one thing, there is energy in politics and some real hope that votes will be counted and thus that Kenyans will chose their leaders going forward under the new Constitution.  Of course it must be remembered that Kenyans were more hopeful in 2007.  An improvement politically is a lack of complacency or naiveté.

The economy in the aggregate continues to grow and attract increased foreign investment.  Over the last couple of years taking note of Africa as the last great investment frontier has gotten so commonplace as to be, finally, cliché.

Kenya has tremendous advantages in reference to serving international investors over most other Sub-Saharan African countries at the inception.  Aside from Indian Ocean coastline which makes Kenya a natural gateway for Asian trade, Kenya speaks global English and is home to Nairobi which was already well-established during the era of what I have called “the aid bubble” as the favored location for internationals.  Whatever happens in South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia in the next few years, a lot of the international support/involvement will come through and be “back officed” in Nairobi.  Kenya has been the key regional military ally of the United States throughout its history, while separately serving as “Americans’ favorite African country” in the popular imagination, and attracting a lion’s share of private tourism and aid/mission activity.  And of course there are close ties to Great Britain and British companies of long-standing and plenty of interchange with the rest of Europe.  Nairobi has been an attractive draw for white African businessmen, especially since the mid-90s, and has become more Continue reading

ICC Proceedings–Kenya cases trial dates to be set before July 13; likely for soon after 2013 election

Tom Maliti’s report on Monday’s ICC proceedings in the ICC Kenya Monitor

Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki of Trial Chamber V announced the decision today after listening to the prosecution, defense, and victims’ lawyers make their submissions during a meeting to discuss a trial date and other preliminary matters ahead of hearings in the first Kenya case. Judge Ozaki said the trial chamber will issue its decision in writing before the court breaks for its summer recess, which starts on July 13.

The decision was in reference to the first Kenya case only as a similar meeting is set for Tuesday to discuss the details of the second Kenya case. However, the practice of the pre-trial, trial, and appeal chambers has been to issue simultaneously important decisions concerning both Kenya cases.

Read the whole report for interesting details about the respective positions of the parties and comments from the Court.