Jubilee MPs led by Tiaty Constituency Asman Kamama (Seated) addressing the press at Serena Hotel in Nairobi on September 2, 2013 where they said Kenya should pull out from Rome statue over the on-going ICC cases. A likely showdown between Jubilee and Cord looms as the National Assembly got set for a special sitting Thursday to initiate Kenya’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute. PHOTO|FILE NATION
Kenyans are not going to allow some few sycophantic dick-heads going by the names parliamentarians, senators and governors to pull Kenya out of ICC without the ‘mashinani Kenyans’ themselves saying so through a national referendum! Consequently, if Kenya is going to pull out of ICC, ALL Kenyans MUST have a say through a national referendum!
THUS KENYANS DEMAND A NATIONAL REFERENDUM HERE HERE AND NOW NOW!!!
Showdown looms over anti-ICC bid
MPs from the Jubilee and Cord coalitions were last evening preparing for a likely showdown as the National Assembly got set for a special sitting this afternoon to initiate Kenya’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
This comes ahead of Deputy President William Ruto’s departure next week for the International Criminal Court to face charges of crimes against humanity.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial, in the same court, starts in November.
Intense lobbying began in the morning and continued late into the night within the coalitions, both of which have planned meetings of their parliamentary groups to craft united fronts ahead of the session.
MPs from the governing Jubilee coalition, in both the National Assembly and Senate, lobbied aggressively to win support for the motion which will be moved by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale. In the Senate, another motion will be moved by Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki next Tuesday.
Jubilee Coalition MPs were yesterday invited by Mr Duale to their parliamentary group meeting slated for 11am at the Sarova Panafric Hotel in Nairobi.
Ol-Joro Orok MP J.M. Waiganjo (TNA) said: “We have been caucusing in different fora to build consensus, but we are yet to reach a concrete position.
“We have been discussing how to reach a common stand. We don’t want tomorrow’s (today) debate to be a contest between Jubilee and Cord.”
Mr Waiganjo said the committee on Justice and Legal Affairs will meet this morning before proceeding to the PG meeting at Panafric Hotel.
“As a committee we want to know our stand before moving to the plenary in the afternoon,” Mr Waiganjo said.
Prof Kindiki, the Tharaka Nithi Senator, said Jubilee was working to reach out to the minority side to support the motions “in the spirit of national reconciliation.’’
Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando said success of the motion was almost assured.
“Withdrawal from ICC is a fait accompli. Through Kenyan democratically elected representatives, we’re today (Thursday) telling detractors of our celebrated emergent democracy that their sulking and jealousy will falter,” said the MP, before adding: “Nevertheless, we fully support the legal process.”
As Jubilee meets at the Panafric, the opposition Cord Alliance will have its own parliamentary group meeting at Orange House co-chaired by Mr Raila Odinga (ODM), Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Democratic Movement) and Mr Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).
Mr Odinga declined to discuss the issue when asked to do so by journalists Wednesday.
“I will not comment on the matter now as you know this is the subject of our parliamentary group meeting today. I do not want to jump the gun,” said the former Prime Minister.
However, he said he was not opposed to his party members accompanying President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to The Hague.
“We have stated time and again that our members are free to work with the government. But they also know the party position on a number of issues. If they want to accompany them to The Hague, they are free to do so, their hands are not tied. But they should know that they will only be tourists there.”
National Assembly Minority Whip Gideon Mung’aro said Cord would use the occasion to come up with a stand on the motion.
“Our meeting tomorrow is to discuss the reopening of Parliament, a decision taken without us being consulted. Since we did not have prior information regarding the reasons behind the recalling of Parliament from recess we have decided to caucus on some of the issues we have heard,” said the ODM legislator.
Mr Mung’aro said Cord was not worried about the prospect of the Duale motion because a similar motion had been passed by the same House in December 2010.
“We want our members to discuss this matter so that they can come up with a position which we can then communicate to Kenyans,” he said.
He denied that the coalition had decided to boycott the House session, clarifying that only the parliamentary group meeting would decide Cord’s official position.
Siaya Senator James Orengo told the Nation that Thursday’s meeting would also discuss the skyrocketing cost of living, which had began to be felt with the coming into effect of the new value added tax (VAT) Act.
Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama has been mobilising both senators and MPs from the coalition to attend today’s meeting.
Mr Waiganjo said some MPs also felt that since Kenyan laws do not allow criminal charges against the Head of State, the ICC cases facing President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto interfered with the country’s sovereignty. However, others argue that the law expressly excludes immunity for international crimes.
Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi confirmed that senators had also been invited to the Jubilee PG.
Cord MP for Ugunja Opiyo Wandayi said he would oppose the actual sitting.
“Any new attempt by the Jubilee Government to use Parliament to scuttle the ICC process will be an exercise in futility. I will vigorously oppose it. Unless Article 2 of the Constitution is amended, our obligations under the Rome Statute remain intact,” he said.
Mr Joseph Magwanga (Kasipul, ODM) stated: “It is unfair to change laws just to suit an individual or two individuals’ interests. What is happening is in itself an attempt to use the National Assembly to perpetuate impunity.”
WHAT THE MOTION SAYS
THAT, aware that the Republic of Kenya promulgated a new Constitution on 27th August, 2010 which has fundamental changes in the circumstances relating to the governance of the Republic; aware that the Republic conducted its general elections on the 4th of March 2013 at which the President and Deputy President were lawfully elected in accordance with the Constitution of Kenya; further aware of a resolution of the National Assembly in the Tenth Parliament to repeal the International Crimes Act and to suspend any links, cooperation and assistance to the International Criminal Court; this House resolves to introduce a Bill within the next thirty days to repeal the International Crimes Act (No 16 of 2008) and that the Government urgently undertakes measures to immediately withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on 17th July, 1998.
Reported by Lucas Barasa, Isaac Ongiri, John Ngirachu and Njeri Rugene.