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Why Obama will keep off Kenya when Uhuru or Ruto is president

By - | Published Sun, November 11th 2012 at 00:00, Updated November 11th 2012 at 11:59 GMT +3

My good friend, advocate Donald Kipkorir was supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. Mr Kipkorir’s out-of-the-box kind of thinking never ceases to amaze me! With Obama-mania rocking the borders of Kenya, Kipkorir probably stood alone in Romney’s support.

Regardless of which side any Kenyan was on, I don’t think we derive anything significant from Barack Obama’s presidency. It’s mere symbolism for Kenya. The skinny man with a Kenyan father. And definitely Obama, Sasha and Malia are ethnic Luo.

On the global stage Obama often has ‘well reasoned’ rhetoric. I can sit down with him and discuss a thing or two on human rights, accountability, the ‘war’ on terror, the Arab or Muslim spring, global warming, Africa and Kogelo. And we can agree to disagree.

Not because he is US President, but because he is a refined intellectual. He and Bill Clinton are wananchis (common man) who rose to the prism of US politics and power.

You know there are certain similarities among men and women with similar backgrounds. Obama and Clinton are former student leaders, lawyers, human rights practitioners, researchers, writers among other definitions that represent a certain path of discourse.

That’s why Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton would have a decent conversation and have a common understanding with Maina Kiai, Willy Mutunga and Betty Murungi while Romney would not. These men and women have something in common. Their backgrounds are defined by similar intellectual discourses and viewpoints.

For the same reason, people with a common background would have a common position on the International Criminal Court (ICC) suspects.

They would think it’s a bad idea to have Uhuru Kenyatta or William Ruto as president of Kenya. Don’t forget many Kenyans had interacted with Obama before he became US President. He would have had a similar position whether he was a common mwananchi, Senator of Illinois or now president.

The question is not whether the US is party to the Rome Statutes of the ICC. For jurists and international legal experts, the questions are the legal and political implications for Uhuru and Ruto both locally and within the realm of the international justice mechanism.

That’s why Obama would not visit Kenya if Uhuru or Ruto is president. Not only because he is the US President. But because he understands the legal and political questions and implications both domestically in the US and under international law.

 Even when he is no longer president after four years, Obama can come visit grandma Sarah and be traumatised and turn down any opportunity or request to meet with president Uhuru or Ruto. And I can guarantee you that these will be the considerations with a majority of leaders the world over.

Definitely, we will have the support of a handful of despots. But no nation or leader will put into jeopardy its interests and people because of Uhuru and Ruto. Not even Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania or Burundi. Don’t fool yourselves.

Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak and now Bashar Al-Assad among a litany of rulers in history were abandoned at their hour of need! Even regional and sub-regional bodies they financed and manipulated let them fry.

The interference theory in Kenya’s domestic affairs is crap. Nations and individuals just like Uhuru are propelled by interests. Let Uhuru’s and Ruto’s hour of need arrive. Like Saddam, Gaddafi and Mubarak you will take the dock and sink in isolation.

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and many others will be out of reach. No nation or its leader will sink its enduring interest for your presidential sake. No matter how thick you think they are!

The writer is a Lawyer and aspirant Mombasa County Senate