By David Ochwangi
The decision today by the ICC with respect to the “Ocampo Six” brings us a step closer to a resolution of the Post-Election fiasco that was visited on us through no fault of our own. This necessary evil that seemed to balance the scales of justice and offer Kenyans much-needed reprieve from the tyranny and excesses of the high and mighty in our midst but it is not the end all be all to this nightmare.
To those in ODM gloating at the decision of the pre-trial chamber, I say hold your horses, your leader has just as unclean hands in this no less than the accused and Kenyans will have the final say, one way or the other. Ocampo’s excursion into Kenya was by invitation when our own derelict government miserably failed to prevent the massacre of innocent Kenyans in 2007/2008 and then abdicated its responsibility to bring justice to victims. There is no winner here folks, particularly if the scales of justice remain tilted in favor of some, this indelible blemish on our country will remain uncorrected.
The bottom line is that we failed to manage our own affairs and allowed others to manage them for us, so let’s not whine now about what the ICC is doing to mitigate future human losses.
Be that as is may, let not your hearts be troubled as this process unfolds, the accused still enjoy the presumption of innocence which is a fundamental cornerstone of any justice system worth its salt, they are entitled to due process and unless and until proven guilty, we are all duty-bound to uphold the rule of law and yes that includes letting them pursue their rights and yes, that includes contesting for president. So to justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo and the civil societies put a lid on your preemptive calls to preclude these fellows from running for elective office, leave that to we the people to decide that at the ballot box; similarly, this caution extends to calling for their resignations, it is the president’s prerogative.
At this point it is imperative that we remember how we got here; very simple, a flawed election announcement where the aggrieved party, Raila Odinga, a manipulative pyromania who refused to follow the proper channels to get his grievances addressed and instead vented his frustrations to the streets setting up gullible unemployed youths with calls for mass action and the consequences were massacre of innocent Kenyans, displacement of hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens and destruction of Billions of shillings of property, these are facts. Indeed Odinga is the single most beneficiary of the Post-Election Violence in Kenya, so those insinuating that he was somehow an innocent bystander in all these are just dishonest.
It is not just by some sheer coincidence that called for mass action, violence broke out, he is made prime minister and the violence magically dissipated! I think it is an insult to our collective intelligence by those desperate to distance Odinga from the violence; he was front and center in this mess, before, during and after.
Even granting such a cockamamie idea as real, nothing excuses or reconciles the fact that Odinga’s position as Kenya’s Prime Minister is a direct derivative of Post-Election Violence crimes and the fact that for the last four years he has continued to enjoy and reap the benefits of such heinous crimes while playacting to the public gallery including the UN as a champion of justice is the height of dangerous and atrocious hypocrisy. Raila Odinga is part and parcel of PEV, before during and after; from calling for “Mass Action”, thanking the suspects for their valor in the mayhem, defending their crimes as called their actions a “spontaneous reaction to the stolen elections” and that they were merely chasing after their “stolen cows”, calling for their release from remand jails for they did “nothing wrong” , to changing his tune and turning his back on them after he was made Prime Minister telling them to “carry their own crosses”, to literary writing the ICC and the UN calling for the prosecution of the “Ocampo Six”, his position on this has changed a thousand different times. So make no mistake about this folks, we cannot separate Odinga and his party ODM from the violence, even during the Ocampo Six testimony at The Hague, the suspects, particularly William Ruto of ODM’s supreme ruling organ at the time, the Pentagon, pointed fingers at Odinga.
Truth be told, there is no political leader or party in Kenya in whose name, brand and behest so many Kenyans have lost their lives, displaced and homes and lost livelihoods as Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement.
They are as unapologetic as they are arrogant and they believe they will away
with it. Their pattern of conduct since the PEV reflects this notion, ODM has continually been entangled in violence, from mayoral elections in Nairobi and around the country, the recent stoning of Raphael Tuju in Kisumu, the beating of Magara in Kisii, the beating to death of the three ODM warring faction supporters in Rongo on December 11, 2011, the violent grassroots elections recently held by the party, etc- the list is long.
Violence is how the party conducts its affairs, it is their Modus Operandi and because nobody, not the ICC, not even this government that Prime Minister Odinga is a co-principal, holds them accountable they are practically invincible and the rest of us, regrettably, end up paying for their actions, when is enough? When will we stand up and demand that the people’s interests become a priority as they far supersede the interests of ODM and Odinga?
What makes ODM’s conduct and actions any different from homegrown terrorism no less than the Al Shabaab we are fighting in Somali?
The only difference is that this is an organized criminal enterprise headed by a
co-principal in government. The ODM party/brand has underwrote more deaths and destruction in the country than Mungiki, Sungu-Sungu, Chinkororo, Jeshi la Mzee, Al Shabaab and all other proscribed organized criminal enterprises in Kenya combined!
We cannot and must not discount this fact, we cannot ignore or sweep the truth under the rug for political expediency, if we do, they will haunt us for they are certain to repeat again and we’ll have ourselves to blame. We have for years, to our own detriment, placed blind faith in leaders who err and betray us repeatedly, we protected them and defended them at the public square and in the process become unwitting enablers who emboldened to then pull off atrocities such as the post-election violence that still lingers today.
We have to now stand up and call the shots in the direction this country takes. The ICC process is only complimentary to our own justice system and if the Kenyan government, fails to act again as it is supposed to, this ruling will only fuel divisiveness and encourage further animosity between communities.
Accordingly, I expect true pursuit of justice for the victims of violence, I expect Prime Minister Odinga to shoulder his fair burden for the post-election
violence crimes, I expect the Commissioner of police Matthew Iteere to conclude and show results of full, thorough and unbiased investigations on this weighty matter and let the chips fall where they may, four years is plenty of time already, I expect the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko, in full view of the public, in an honest effort to bring to a close this sad chapter in our country’s history, to faithfully and truthfully uphold the rule of law and
file appropriate criminal complaints in our courts and hold all those
responsible for these crimes accountable, this is long overdue; I expect the revelation of the remaining 14 names in the Justice Philip Waki’s envelope and I also expect the civil society to stand up and be counted on the side of justice for the victims and not take sides with any politician or side of the political divide as they have been prone to.
Folks, this is the only sure way, in my opinion, to send a clear message to Kenyans and to the world at large that it is indeed a new dawn in our country, that we are once again capable of handling our own affairs and that we are in fact fully in charge. We must demand full and complete accountability by everyone involved, not these half-baked Band-Aid window dressing measures which clearly make a complete mockery of justice.
Ocampo, in my opinion, abused his prosecutorial discretion by cherry picking the six as the only ones most responsible and left out the most culpable parties including Raila Odinga himself, it certainly dovetails the general consensus that this whole process has been tainted by blatantly biased global politics which pits communities against each other as opposed to providing impartial resolution to conflicts. What is good for the goose is certainly good for the gender, let’s demand fairness, let’s promote justice.
So if the government’s position is that the ICC is wrong, please show us a better alternative which will satisfy Kenyans and the international ommunity.
A good place to start is for Kenya’s own law enforcement and judicial institutions to do their jobs and hold everyone accountable for their role in this without fear, favor or prejudice. ICC or not, we must reclaim and restore our country’s sovereignty, time is now.