Let us stop bashing and blaming the International Criminal Court for our problems
- Standard 15th Dec 2014 00:00:00 GMT +0300
The Assembly of State Parties (ASP) is holding its meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York to assess the challenges and gains made by The Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC) since its inception in 2003, following the ratification of the Rome statute.
Kenya is in attendance as one of the 139 countries that supported the formation of the ICC.
In his contribution to the ongoing debate, amid threats by the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to have Kenya discussed for ostensibly withholding evidence in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, which has since been withdrawn, Kenya's permanent representative to the United Nations, Mr Macharia Kamau blamed the ICC for hindering national reconciliation efforts several years after the 2008 post-election clashes.
He further claimed the country was unable to build a stronger democracy and society because of the ICC.
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Given that the President and his deputy, William Ruto have repeatedly assured Kenyans that the Jubilee coalition came together specifically to unite Kenyans, and reminders that the ICC cases against them had no bearing on the affairs of the country, the sentiments by Mr Macharia appear escapist.
You don't need to dig deep to know what ails Kenya as a country. Some of the factors that hinder national reconciliation are local socio- political issues and predate the Hague cases.
Communities in Turkana, Mandera, Wajir and outlying areas have not been at peace with each other for decades. These communities have very little understanding of the ICC and are not unduly bothered by it.
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Tribal clashes in Baringo have defeated reconciliation efforts and have nothing to do with the ICC. Today, communities living along the Kakamega- Nandi border in an area called Kuvasali are fighting, torching houses over issues that are not related to the ICC in any way.
As a country, we must be willing to face the truth and charter our own course from there. The biggest stumbling block to national reconciliation efforts is an insincere political class and lack of political goodwill.
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Some leaders stand to benefit politically from incessant clashes and have been fueling them for selfish considerations. Utterances made by some of our politicians, especially after some of these flareups border on incitement, yet no action is taken.
To a large extent, the biggest cause of trouble and national mistrust as highlighted by a report released recently by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, is historical land injustices and lack of equity in national resource allocation.
Incidents such as cattle rustling do not give room for reconciliation. Increased cases of insecurity cannot provide genuine grounds for national reconciliation.
In northern Kenya, as long as issues of pasture, water and cattle rustling are not addressed, reconciliation will remain a dream. We all know these issues have nothing to do with the ICC.
Leaders must be willing to facilitate a paradigm shift where feathering of their own nests stops being the overriding concern for the sake of our country.
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Neglect by elected leaders breeds discontent among citizens, especially when they find themselves struggling to meet their basic needs because of corruption and diversionary politics initiated by those in leadership.
It is time we all reminded our leaders that the ICC is not responsible for the lethargy in the country. The problems are homemade and must be tackled from that perspective.
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