ICC: Kenya or Uhuru Kenyatta on trial?

Along the streets of Nairobi, the major newspapers have captivating headlines like “uhuru should go to the Hague-Lawyer says”, “How Uhuru’s case turned to a fiasco.” The citizens are divided along tribal lines with the “my people” mentality, still the dominating factor with regards to solving the vital issues within the society. We believe it is right for one from my tribe to commit injustice and get away with it, as it’s the status quo.

The ICC cases have taken a paradigm shift that has seen the flexing of muscles between institutions and states. The African Union has been at constant loggerheads with the International Criminal Court as the “old men” claim they are protecting their own. The “messiahs” of African nations, with some declaring the presidency a family wealth, have been fighting tooth and nail to deny justice to the victims of the 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya.  They have come up with resolutions to protect them from the sharp edges of the realm of justice. They have been used to control all the arms of governments in their respective states, where they live opulent lives as the ordinary citizens wallow in grinding poverty.

The real dilemma comes in as the lady who gives most African presidents sleepless nights, Bensouda, accuses the Kenyan government of not cooperating, with regard to the disclosure of the needed information to continue the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta. The trial judges after a keen analysis request for the appearance of a sitting head of state in their court chambers as an accused. It will not only be history as it is the first time a sitting head of state might  appear before the international Criminal court, but it will be a moment the world will be watching keenly to see what are the possible implications, in case the president doesn’t appear before the court. Which brings me to the question, should Uhuru Kenyatta present himself at the court or should he ignore the order? Is the Kenyan sovereignty under trial at The Hague?

Some “pundits” have accused the court of being a political tool used by the West to manipulate Africans. They have used terms as a “new form of colonialism” etc. They have even claimed that the appearance of the president and his deputy at The Hague is a real threat to our sovereignty as a state. Their argument is not only myopic and biased; it is an infringement on the rights of the victims of the 2007/2008 post election violence, as they prove a fact that you are guilty till proven rich as it has been the case in most African states. It therefore implies that the detractors should avoid precluding the law, by propagating cheap propaganda that our sovereignty is in jeopardy and let justice take course. There is no correlation between the President being accused and the State. It’s Uhuru Kenyatta as an individual under trial at the ICC and not the Kenyan state, therefore he has the moral obligation to appear before the court and clear his name as an innocent citizen of the world.

I close my analysis with the illuminating words of the great Nelson Mandela “The rule of law as I understand it, refers to the structural exercise of rule as opposed to the idiosyncratic will of kings and princesses. Even where the latter may express itself benevolently the former is morally and politically superior. Where the rule of law does not apply; rulers assume entitlement to rule; the rule of law on the other hand, places the emphasis upon structured responsibility and obligation.

Gilbert Nyandeje_ Founder/Executive Director Espoir Centre-Kenya



Email gilbertonyandeje@gmail.com