Ocampo Names “the Hague Six”, seeks indictments

From Kenya Imagine:

1. Deputy PM and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta
2. suspended Minister of Education William Ruto
3. Minister for Industrialisation Henry Kosgey
4. Secretary to the cabinet Francis Kirimi Muthaura
5. Former police chief Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali
6. Kass FM radio executive Joshua Arap Sang

Here is the story from Jeffrey Gettleman and Marlise Simons in the NY Times.

Don’t forget how hard Kenya’s politicians are working to hold the country back . . .

While the Sudan referendum and the Ugandan election take center stage, it is important not to forget that Kenya’s parliament is deadlocked on taking the necessary steps to move forward on implementation of the new constitution and that the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission has not been revived. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will be in Nairobi this week for meetings ahead of his planned public submission of request for indictments of key instigators of the 2008 post-election violence (necessitated by the Kenyan leadership’s unwillingness to implement local tribunals).

The Standard reports on more talk by Rift Valley MPs of a Ruto-Uhuru alliance for the 2012 elections. Thus the two most prominently identified suspects in organizing the potion of the post-election violence carried out by private militias would unite.

Capital FM reports that Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for the arrest of gays at a rally Sunday in Kibera.

And the Nation says that it has seen the secret U.S. dossier on Kenyan drug lords:

The report seen by the Nation says Kenya is not only a significant transit country for cocaine, heroin and hashish, but also a money-laundering hub.

“Quantities of heroin and hashish transiting in Kenya, mostly from Southwest Asia bound for Europe and United States have markedly increased in recent years,” the report adds.

The International Narcotics Strategy Report, that reviewed 2009 drug trafficking and money laundering in Kenya, blames lack of resources and rampant corruption for the two vices.

Kenya’s financial system, the report adds, may be laundering more than Sh80 billion ($100 million) each year, including an undetermined amount of drug money and Somali piracy earnings.

It indicates that money laundering continues unabated, despite Parliament passing the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Law, 2009, which was signed by President Kibaki on December 31, 2009.

However, the law has not come into force because the Ministry of Finance has not gazetted its commencement date although the Act indicates that such date shall not exceed six months after the date of assent.
. . . .
The report accused former anti-corruption boss Aaron Ringera, former Police boss Major-General (Rtd) Hussein Ali and the director of Police Training College Peter Kavila of frustrating investigations into the matter. Both have denied the accusations, with Mr Ringera threatening to sue the newspapers for defamation.

Parliament has put the Executive under pressure accusing it of not taking the war on narcotics seriously. MPs are now demanding that names of the senior government officers banned from travelling to the US be made public.

Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh told Parliament on Thursday that he could not reveal the names because he was yet to receive the information from the US embassy.

On Sunday, the envoy declined to comment on the matter. He said he would give an official statement on the matter this week.

Independent sources told the Nation that those affected are three MPs — one each from Coast, Central and Eastern provinces.

What responsibility do Americans have for tribalism and corruption in Kenya?

Far more than most of us realize I would say.

Aside from the fact that most Americans simply are generally unaware of the whole topic, more specifically I think we have a problem from being in a real degree of denial about the extent to which both Kenyatta and Moi were tribalist and corrupt, and advanced the systems of tribalism and corruption, while we supported them for other reasons. Certainly a big part of my education from living and working in Kenya was the opportunity to have private conversations with Kenyans who would tell me about how bad things had been under Moi. Especially noteworthy were these conversations with citizens from the Kalenjin groupings in the Rift Valley.

Before going to Kenya I got too much information of tertiary importance about the history of political parties without the driving background of tribalism and torture and aggregate economic statistics without the same background. Nor was I well informed about the determinative modes of operation of Kenyatta, Moi and then Kibaki as leaders.

It seems to me that you have to understand and account for these things to understand the relative importance of a new constitution to the Kenyan people, as well as to understand something meaningful about the 2007 presidential election and the misconduct of Kenyan authorities, and the multiple different types of violence in different places in the wake of the stolen election. Then you can read the Waki Commission report on the post-election violence and make sense of the ethnic “body count” and the fact that slightly more of those killed who were identified by ethnicity were Luo than any other “tribe”, followed closely by Kikuyu.

The new constitution has given a sense of empowerment and opportunity in Kenya–but we have seen the chimera of reform before after the 2002 election. The United States and others have given themselves a lot of credit for the February 28, 2008 post-election settlement, but the agreements reached have seen a mixed record of performance so far. While the Waki Commission did a great service, no Kenyan tribunals have been created to prosecute cases from post-election violence. The Kreigler Commission abdicated the duty to assess the presidential election, while finding that the overall system and the parliamentary results were deeply flawed. The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission has been aborted–trying again will require a significant new effort and extended time, while the next election looms.

So yes, this is exactly the right time to fully examine our role in the referendum campaign leading to the new constitution and our role in the 2007 election leading to violence followed by a settlement that has led to that referendum and to some other reforms, while others remain in limbo. With a better understanding of these last two elections we can make honest and informed decisions in a democratic manner about what our role should be now and in 2012.

And by the way, I understand that you still can’t buy “It’s Our Turn to Eat” in a Kenyan bookstore.

True Colors–Kenyan Justice Minister calls on ICC to drop prosecution of Post-Election Violence

This strikes me as a classic “bait and switch” from the Kenyan political establishment to the international community.

Kenya’s Justice Minister says at this late date that because Kenya will be reforming its judicial and police systems under the newly passed Constitution, the ICC is no longer needed and should “keep off” as Kenya can now prosecute the post-election violence itself. I cannot imagine who would be expected to take this argument seriously. Certainly no one that has been paying any attention to Kenya for the past few years.

Presumably the real argument is that “because we have allowed Kenyans to pass this wonderful new Constitution–that you, international powers wanted more than we did–you owe us a pass on the post-election violence–just like you gave us a pass on the election fraud because we agreed to a “government of national unity”.

As with the election fraud, there is a real question here for the United States: how much do we want to know and when do we want to know it? The ICC is at best only going to try a tiny handful of suspects–most killers and their sponsors will not be directly touched. The ICC’s ability to gain convictions is not a foregone conclusion. Trials, however, would be public and would let the Kenyan public–and the international public–hear details of what happened. The United States has claimed to have quite a bit of information about the post-election violence. Presumably this is the case with the British and the other European players. To date, we have supported the ICC process lukewarmly as a substitute for the local tribunals that we preferred but the Kenyan leadership refused to approve. Where are we on this now?

From the Saturday Nation, “Mutula to Ocampo: Quit Kenya Probe”:

A Cabinet Minister has launched a controversial campaign to stop the International Criminal Court from investigating and prosecuting post-election violence suspects.

Lawyer Mutula Kilonzo, who holds the Justice portfolio, claims that trial sought by the ICC chief prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo after he completes investigations in the next few weeks will be unnecessary when Kenya establishes a new judiciary, appoints an inspector-general of police, and installs a new director of public prosecution under the new Constitution.

The minister, whose docket is crucial to obtaining justice for the victims of the violence that broke out after the 2007 General Election, argued: “When these (appointments) are in place, we can say that Kenyan judges meet the best international standards. After that, I can even tell them not to admit the ICC case. Why on earth should a Kenyan go to The Hague?”

How to have quieter, safer elections in Kenya?

One of the other writing suggestions I have had recently was the topic of how to move Kenya in the direction of countries where elections are routine, quiet and uneventful–part of the ordinary course of affairs as opposed to occasions for violence and even deaths and displacement.

Lots of things to point to here:

1. Be careful what you wish for and appreciate what you have. There is good in the fact that Kenyans care about elections and are engaged and motivated politically. I could give you some opposite examples of apathy and distraction in the United States during the housing and internet bubbles. Part of the reasons elections are quieter in South Africa, for instance, is probably the dominance and unique status of the ANC.

2. In Kenya, job opportunities and economic activity for younger people outside Nairobi would help a great deal with reducing the “drama” associated with campaigns and elections–as of course would economic development improving circumstances in the Nairobi “slums”. This would greatly inconvenience the current political class by raising the cost of raising gangs, for instance, as well as more generally raising the cost of menial labor in Nairobi, so there will continue to be entrenched resistance.

3. Violence in the elections in Kenya is mostly, at root, a product of bad acts by bad politicians. They do what they do because it works and serves their interests. Overwhelmingly, Kenyan citizens want criminal prosecution of key political actors in the 2007-2008 post election violence. To date, however, impunity reigns. Citizen activism and engagement will be crucial to winning this fight. I recommend that Kenyans do their best to “name and shame” those from the West that continue to vacillate and demonstrate hypocrisy in making sure that violence doesn’t pay. Why would Americans, for instance, be in bed with Moi in particular? Or Ruto or Uhuru while they are identified as key suspects? Especially my fellow Christians and those saying they want to help Kenyans build democracy?

4. Suppression of civil liberties as well as outright use of force to retain power by the incumbent administration was very much a key cause of much of the violence following the 2007 election. Kenyans were not allowed to protest peacefully as the election appeared to be stolen. Kenyans were generally not allowed to protest peacefully before the election. Kenyans peacefully and spontaneously celebrating the “peace deal” settlement of February 28, 2008 were tear gassed. If you are not a Kenyan, ask yourself what you would do if this were your country?

5. It does seem to me that legal reform is key to stopping a climate of violence surrounding the elections. There are several things in the proposed new Constitution that I think can help, in particular changing from the “first past the post” presidential election which has resulted in candidates winning with a plurality of the vote but minority support nationally, to a runoff system that will call on a successful campaign to build majority support. The dynamics of presidential campaigns under a runoff system would, I think, be substantially different, and I think, better. Getting some grip on overwhelming presidential power and making general progress toward the rule of “law” rather than of “men” is the way to elections in which the stakes are not so high, or seem so high, that people get killed.

6. And of course, the biggest reason that elections have exaggerated stakes in Kenya is corruption. Elections are not just about control of government, but also control of the business/parastatal complexes and networks developed from control of government. A key government official early on in my time in Kenya told me that 2007 was not the year for a new generation of leadership to come into power because there was too much corruption in the past that would be at risk of exposure and that the people involved were not ready to step aside for that reason.

Marende praised by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, meeting with Biden; South Mugirango by-election this week

Kenyan Speaker of Parliament Kenneth Marende seems to be getting an increased international profile. Navanethem Pillay, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, called on Marende on Monday, expressing concern regarding progress on prosecution of suspects for post election violence. According to the Standard she singled out Marende for praise, “saying he had made immense contribution in stabilising the country through some historic rulings and the manner he handled issues in Parliament”.

U.S. Vice President Biden will call on Marende Tuesday as well, along with his meeting with President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga.

Interestingly, Marende says that Parliament “would easily pass” legislation to provide for a “local tribunal” to try election violence cases under Kenyan criminal law “if the ICC acted swiftly by taking away key perpetrators of the violence”.

Biden will leave Thursday morning, the day of the South Mugirango by-election to fill the seat vacated by a successful election petition against Omingo Magara, originally of ODM. As it stands the race is hot, with Raila Odinga campaigning for the substitute ODM nominee, Ibrahim Ochoi, William Ruto campaigning for Magara running as a PDP nominee and heavyweights in PNU affiliates split among Magara and other candidates.

Kenyan Draft Constitution to be published by AG Thursday for referendum

Read it for yourself here.

My take is that Kenyan voters can make their own choice. That’s what this is supposed to be about. Personally I think the process could have been better and the draft could have been better–and avoided unnecessary ambiguity and controversy–but that does not mean, to me, that it does not contain some very important improvements in the governance and political process for Kenya. Regardless, a fair vote in which everyone has the opportunity to vote, and have that vote accurately counted, is the first and indispensable step toward healing from the 2008 violence and moving toward a restoration of bona fide democracy.

Nairobi Star: Possible ICC suspect list leaks

From allAfrica.com, the Nairobi Star reports that they have obtained a leaked list that appears to be a working document from the ICC prosecutor’s office from last fall identifying people who may be subject to investigation by the prosecutor in relation to Kenya’s post-election violence.

The Star does not name names, but includes basic descriptions and categories, some of which become fairly obvious.

ICC Prosecution Works to Protect Kenyan Witnesses

“Witnesses Reveal Dark Secrets of Election Violence”

“Key Witnesses in Poll Violence are Flown Out”:

At least 20 witnesses said to be holding crucial evidence on hate crimes committed during the post-election violence have been placed under protection.

Many have been flown out of Kenya for their safety while others are being protected in safe houses in various parts of the country, a civil society official involved in the international witness protection initiative disclosed on Friday.

They include seven people thought to have crucial evidence that could nail the masterminds of two of the worst atrocities committed in the Rift Valley during the violence, the official, who did not wish to be named to avoid compromising his trust, said.

The scheme under which the witnesses have been placed is managed by the civil society and international agencies and is not the one operated by the government.

“An Important Day for Justice in Kenya” says Annan–more media coverage of ICC ruling

Scott Baldauf in the Christian Science Monitor raises the issue of whether Kenyan leaders are already working to undermine the ICC.

The Standard: “Ocampo gets nod to nail the ‘Kenya 20′”.


Daily Nation“ICC Judges order Ocampo to probe post-poll violence”.

Xan Rice in The Guardian: “International Criminal Court to investigate violence after 2007 Kenyan election”.

CNN: “Ruling Means Kenyan Leaders Could Face Charges”–Human Rights Watch says ruling could help Kenya “turn a corner”, stresses witness protection.

Kenya Broadcasting Corp: “ICC approves investigations into Kenya’s PEV” from Reuters.