UHURU KENYATTA and WILLIAM RUTO are using ICC issue to ascend to the PRESIDENCYEditor's Choice 02:24
By Pheroze Nowrejee
Now we know why Uhuru Kenyatta is standing in these elections and why William Ruto is standing with him.
Uhuru said, “A vote for us is a vote of no confidence in the ICC.”(Daily Nation, 1 February 2013). Ruto said, “Presidential victory for the Jubilee Alliance may indicate there is something wrong with the charges its two leaders are facing at The Hague”. (The Standard, 1 February 2013).
Their own words indicate that they are using the election to try and get out of the ICC Trial. This then is the truth behind their earlier prayer campaigns, and, now, their election campaigns.
An election is not about saving oneself. It is about serving the nation. Secondly, Uhuru and Ruto cannot make the election which concerns 40 million Kenyans a referendum on the ICC trials which concern 2 Kenyans.
Because the ICC Trials arise from our commitment to international law enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and because the ICC is also a Kenyan court, to make this election a referendum on the ICC trials is also to make it a referendum on the Constitution of Kenya.
Uhuru wants us to vote for him and thus against the ICC. But that is also a vote against our new constitution. It is a hidden attack on the new constitution. We must reject this. To vote against the constitution, directly or indirectly, is to destroy our future.
Uhuru and Ruto then proceeded to make even more suggestions on international criminal procedure. Ruto said “To the best of my knowledge on March 5, we will sit down with the people running the business at The Hague and tell them that we have this matter in court, we have every intention to attend, but we also have a country to run.” (Ibid) This suggestion, soon perhaps to be known as the Ruto Rule, might be helpful to President Bashir of Sudan. But not to Kenya. Uhuru and Ruto have got it wrong here.
An accused person cannot stop a trial by winning an election and then telling the court he is too busy. Uhuru tried to improve on this error. He stated, “If Ruto could be [at The Hague] today, I would be around running the affairs of the country.
When he comes back, he takes charge as I go and defend myself.” (The Star, 1 February 2013). Then when Ruto’s trial has a break he returns and takes over again, and Uhuru goes to The Hague.
And they go on governing Kenya like this in turns. Till they are convicted or acquitted. This is not an improvement. It is a degrading disregard of the rights of other Kenyans.
Uhuru is also concerned with how Kenya should vote to aid him and Ruto. So next he told rally crowds in Meru, that Kenyans who live in other parts of Kenya are ‘outsiders’, (The Standard, 1 February 2013), and if they seek votes from there, they are ‘dividing’ the region. Uhuru confirmed that the ‘region’ “had over the years voted as a bloc”, and implored the locals there to vote as a bloc “as they have done before.” This is the type of canvassing that is practiced within the ‘region’, including freely using the vernacular, while in the rest of Kenya there are pious statements about ‘unity’.
The admission from its presidential candidate that the ‘region’ elects as a bloc is a sad indicative. But the election is not the only place the region has acted as a bloc. It has also done this in the Civil Service.
The Treasury needs to provide at least Sh5 billion to the police to effectively provide security. “But unfortunately, we are seeing political games being played by top officials of Treasury and the Internal Security ministry.
No firm commitments have been made to release the money as yet,” said the consultant for a police reform group. (The Standard, 1 February 2013). It may further be recalled that last month the Treasury officials had also not released the full amount of the funds for devolution.
Uhuru and Ruto said their manifesto was a contract with all Kenyans on unity. The above words at Meru show that if there is any such contract, it is already being broken. Just like TNA’s contract with Mudavadi was being broken even as it was being announced.
Pheroze Nowrejee - Nairobi Lawyer