Kenya’s president and his deputy both have cases at the ICC. While they were on the campaign trail earlier this year, they both stated repeatedly that the cases were personal challenges. They also said many a times that they would be able to lead the country and honor their individual commitments to attend their trials at the Hague. This was easier said than done. It didn’t seem practical given the demands of leading the country and having a trial. But hey, they are the leaders now…clearly they managed to convince a significant number of the voters.
It is now evident that their collective personal challenge has become Kenya’s MAIN problem. Let’s just ignore the more pressing issues that need to be addressed as a matter of national urgency. Every other day there is a Kenyan leader sounding off on how the ICC is trying to undermine Africa and its leaders. They are constantly campaigning for the president and his deputy’s ICC cases to be deferred. At this rate some of these Kenyan leaders should just appoint themselves to the ICC Deferral Department or rather ICC Deferral Committee since they have a love affair with those. Some of them have even gone so far as to urge the president to skip the trails. If this is not an obvious indicator of the types of “leaders” we have then I don’t know what it is.
These ICC cases have spilled over the borders and become Africa’s challenge. The African Union has now taken up Mission Defer President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto’s ICC Cases as one of its key agendas. The AU recently requested the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to pass a resolution to defer the Kenyan ICC cases for 12 months. According to the AU, the president and his deputy need the 12 months in order to be able to deal with the threat posed by terrorism in Kenyan and in the Horn of Africa. Now, the threat of terrorism did not just recently pop up. It is something that has been there particularly since the Kenyan military was deployed into Somalia to handle Al Shabaab. Even before the elections the threat was there. Surely the president and his deputy must have known about this as they were campaigning and mapping out their leadership strategy. Yet they kept saying they would be able to fulfill all their responsibilities as leaders of the country while attending their trials. Why the backpedaling now? What changed? Thought they could do it all…well at least that’s what they told us. Or was that just an empty campaign talking point? In which case should we really expect the rest of the campaign promises to be fulfilled?
The UNSC rejected the AU’s request and our leaders will not let us forget it. God forbid that we should shift our focus back to actual and more important national challenges. While speaking about the rejection, Kenyan’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary said that, “This means the Council does not take seriously what Africa takes seriously.” Oh OK…is this really what Africa takes seriously or what some of the leaders take seriously? Why is their view being presented as Africa’s collective view? Why can’t African leaders take the personal challenges faced by their citizenry as seriously as they take President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto’s personal challenges? Hallo…unemployment, poverty, lack of education, poor access to health care…those are some personal challenges faced by many Africans. How about we take those seriously and address them effectively?
An MP said, “The US, UK and France had shown disrespect and scorn to Kenya’s well-being by ensuring its leaders spent time in The Hague attending trials instead of serving Kenyans.” Ala! Didn’t the leaders say they would be able to do it all? What happened? Another MP said that, “Kenya had realized who her international enemies were as they did not help the country in the hour of need.” Oh OK…alright…no comment. Actually, there is a comment…why don’t we try and help ourselves first? Just a thought. A group of leaders took the cake with their view of the UNSC’s rejection, “…unfortunate, irrational and ignorant of the country’s mood where resilient Kenyans had forgotten the past and were now in the spirit of forging ahead.” Ha…wow…Kenyans have forgotten the past? Really? So that’s what our leaders want us to do? Accept and move on huh? So that they can continue carrying out injustices and relying on our collective “amnesia” to keep them in political power for life?
When oh when will we get back to issues that matter to every Kenyan? Mr. President and Mr. Deputy, the ICC cases are, in your own words, personal challenges. You said you would deal with them personally. So do that. Thanks. Kenyan leaders, how about you make your positions count developmentally? How about you address the challenges faced by your constituents? Is that too much to ask? Didn’t think so. Thanks.