By Bernard Wainaina
So,what if President Kenyatta goes to ICC with an entourage of 30 sitting African Presidents for state conference of his case?
It will be a first for the world!
But let’s throw in some perspective into this observation about Kenya making history,and the rest of the world reading history.
Kenyans are moving on from their obsessive
fixation with the presidency, one spectacle at a
time. Last month, youths threw shoes at
President Uhuru Kenyatta during a rally to launch an anti-malaria project in Migori County.
Over the weekend, a grown man decided to flog
former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in broad
daylight during an Okoa Kenya rally in Kinango, Kwale County.
And, I can still remember the ‘Uhuru must go’ chant during a welcome home rally following Baba’s (Raila’s) return from a sabbatical in the United States.
Borrowing from Deputy President William Ruto’s illustration, ours is a ‘peculiar’ society – we flog and throw shoes at our leaders.
And, we are not only peculiar, but we are also proud of it.
We shocked the world when some of us
‘overwhelmingly’ elected two suspects of crimes
against humanity to the highest offices in the
We showed ‘them’ that we can elect our
own leaders, that we can govern ourselves.
We demystified the presidency – proving that in
today’s world, anyone can run a country, even an international suspect.
The point is, Kenyans love being unique, we love to be ‘first’ – and we are quickly mastering the art of ‘firsts’.
Occasionally, Ruto casually sits in the ICC dock as he follows the proceedings in the case against him and journalist Joshua Sang. Yet, according to Maina Kiai, the former Chairman of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission during the 2007/8 post-election violence: “there is no other jurisdiction in the world where if you are charged with killing more than one person, you are not in pre-trial detention because you can interfere.”
Indeed, we taught the world the ‘correct’ way to
prosecute ‘important’ ICC suspects.
Because of our effort – an expensive effort, at that – an ICC suspect with ‘extraordinary’ duties can now be excused from continuous attendance at trial.
It is common knowledge that ICC Chief
Prosecutor’s Bensouda’s case against Kenyatta is on its last legs. But she insists that the
government of Kenya is not living up to its
cooperation obligation because it has withheld
According to The Standard,Kenya, in her latest filing, she said that, “withdrawing the charges would also be rewarding the accused, who heads the government that has obstructed the court’s work.”
In other words, for her to terminate the
case against Kenyatta, he should stop this
He should incriminate himself by facilitating the provision of potentially damning evidence.
This is surely the mother of all firsts!
Kenya is in the business of making history.
And very soon, we may also have one for the
Guinness Book of World Records.
The ICC Trial Chamber has ordered Kenyatta to attend a status conference to discuss pending requests from the prosecution and his defence on 8 October 2014.
Never before has a sitting head of state been
order to appear before an international court to discuss his trial.
In October last year, a popular journalist,
Wahome Thuku, had some words of wisdom for the president which resonate with our current predicament.
According to Thuku: “Even in circumcision, there is always the first boy to go.
The prominence of ICC,The Hague trying a sitting president is big. And so thunderous shall the acquittal be…”
For Thuku- and many of the president’s supporters – Kenyatta’s trip to the Hague can only bring fortune, for he (Uhuru) will return as a hero, having conquered the
Nonetheless – as it stands – the president’s hands are tied.
As Kakamega County Senator Boni
Khalwale put it on Twitter, “am quite sure a
media house tonight will ask if Uhuru should
attend as ordered – as if he has a choice rather
than complying with the orders.”
So, on 8 October 2014, I suspect Kenya will make history when Kenyatta’s procession will pull-up outside the ICC.
His mere presence will be a first.
Kenya is a nation of ‘firsts’;Kenyans are peculiar,and proud of it too!
“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®