Before the last election, Uhuru’s biggest dilemma was whether to run for Presidency, or back a trusted ally who could help him out of the ICC albatross around his neck.
Back then, Kibaki thought Uhuru’s run was a terrible idea for the nation, politically and aesthetically – instead preferring a neutral (non-Gikuyu) ally like Musalia Mudavadi. Uhuru made the intrepid decision to reject Kibaki’s overtures and run. The former was right about one thing –only President Uhuru would go the whole hog (even if it means bankrupting Kenya) to save Uhuru! No one else would have taken that risk.
Without considering the mechanics of how Uhuru forced his way into the Presidency, he is now actively engaged in using all Kenyan state facilities and resources to subvert justice at the ICC.
These first 200 days of Uhuru’s Presidency have shown us one thing – he will not have qualms bankrupting Kenya in a bid to rescue himself. He will not mind exploiting tragedies such as the Westgate terrorist act (even if it means turning a blind eye to intelligence reports) to argue his case for excusal from the dock. The government of Kenya is singularly focused on saving its President from the ICC. This ICC project has taken precedence over all service delivery to Kenyans.
Signs from the nascent ICC-besieged administration of Uhuru Kenyatta ominously indicate tough times ahead. There is already an emergence of a paranoid and repressive police state.
Uhuru’s government has actively commenced on curtailing media freedoms through a dark-alley repressive law passed by a fraction of Jubilee sycophant-legislators.
The mutilation of Kenya’s brand new Constitution is on course, through legislative maneuvers akin to those enacted during the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi administrations.
Reluctance to fully fund devolution is now vogue.
It is evident that significant gains in judiciary reforms are quickly being reversed – with reemergence of political judgments of yesteryears.
There is real potential for socio-political instability, over-taxation of citizens, financial turmoil, and more Westgate-like security risks. Ethnic tensions are palpable and regional instability within the East African Community (EAC) is developing –with the deliberate attempt to alienate Tanzania from the partnership. There is a slow but sure shift of Kenya towards becoming a pariah state. Elections are indeed having consequences.
Kenyatta is very likely not going to the Hague! The writing is clearly on the wall. Like he defied counsel from elders like Kibaki not to run for presidency, Uhuru will go headstrong in defying his scrutiny by international judicial systems.
He believes he will again triumph and run roughshod over the ICC process. The convenient tool for this blatant impunity is a fake Pan-Africanist hyperbole, carefully messaged in anti-imperialist and racist rhetoric. That is incidentally the very tactic tried unsuccessfully by former Libyan dictator, the late Gadhafi. Kenyatta has clearly made up his mind that – as President – he is not sitting behind the dock in a foreign court.
Mark these words, Uhuru will not subject himself to the kind of ignominy that William Ruto is currently undergoing. He will not sit to listen (watched by the entire public of Kenya) to testimonies from Mungiki insiders – narrating his role in plotting the murder, persecution, and forced displacement of fellow citizens from the Luo, Luhya and Kalenjin ethnic communities. Uhuru has rightly figured that the humiliating trial process will likely not clear his name, but soil it irreversibly – with daily reminders (for years continuously) about his dalliance with the criminal Mungiki in the latter’s ethnic killing enterprise.
Whereas Uhuru’s defense might be confident that Bensouda (OTP) has thin evidence on his substantive trial, damning evidence regarding witness assassinations, witness intimidation and witness bribery, might prove too costly of a risk in attending trial. Attendance of trial means prolonged absence from State House. In a dramatic country like Kenya, such circumstances may impose humongous problems to Kenyatta’s already shaky presidency. Uhuru’s political backers would not wish for his extended absence away from Kenya – leaving the potent and authoritative William Ruto temporarily acting as President.
Uhuru has already released a number of trial balloons and seen how they rise or fail to rise respectively. His defense lawyers have tested the legal waters in the trial chamber. They have met an atypical non-pliant court. They already know Uhuru’s applications for attendance through video-link and for permanent stay both have no chance of success based on prior rulings (in the Lubanga case and in the Appeals Chamber ruling in Ruto’s excusal application).
These are the insights that inform the kind of volatile anti-ICC speech Uhuru gave recently at the poorly attended AU Summit in Addis Ababa. He knows he is not going to meet those judges. The vain deferral mission through the UN Security Council is just but a time-buying measure in the larger absconding matrix.
Besides these expensive diplomatic maneuvers to rescue Kenyatta, the socio-political and legal framework for the post-warrant period is already being quietly worked in the Jubilee-controlled Parliament and Senate. Kenya’s brand new Constitution is already being dismantled by the legislative vote to de-ratify Kenya from the Rome Statutes (currently a part of Kenya’s Constitution). It will reduce chances of impeachment (or arrest) when Kenyatta ultimately fails to appear in ICC. In the process, citizens will remain vulnerable to repressive and fascist acts by the state. These active legislative steps are the more evidence of Uhuru’s impending failure to appear in ICC.
Concurrently, the Jubilee government is already gagging media. The latest media-control law (modeled along China’s bureaucratic control over press) is explicit warning to journalists. They are being told to tone down their reportage of “election consequences” lest they be slapped with Sh 1 million individual fines, with their parent companies paying Sh 10 million. But what is more troubling is the pattern whereby gross acts of terrorism (ala Westgate) are being milked to benefit Kenyatta’s “ICC problem”. The last attack brought Kenyatta obvious reprieve, relaxing his impending trial schedule. This poses the question whether the president has any impetus left to act to secure the country from other attacks. If it benefits him to turn a blind eye, he would do it again and again. The socio-economic consequences of a Kenyatta arrest warrant are not too hard to predict. The making of a pariah state has started with Kenyatta wrapping himself with a bloodied Kenyan flag. Kenyans should realistically brace for interesting times ahead.
[** Blog Admin appends the following Materials to this excellent article **]
Cover letter on deferral
Memo on deferral
Victim’s rep submission
And then we also have the bill that effectively crushes NGOs