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Opinion: Why I read mischief in ICC’s new move

By Aden Duale | June 14th 2017 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

International Criminal Court photo:courtesy

In December 2014, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague withdrew all charges against Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and subsequently against Mr William Ruto.

The cases were dropped because of a lack of evidence, in other words, there was no proof indicating any involvement in the crimes they were accused of.

The case was terminated, the defendants were vindicated and many Kenyans thought that this sordid matter had come to an end.

Mr Kenyatta was first charged in 2012, in the lead-up to the presidential elections which took place only months later, and many assumed the charges would affect the Jubilee Party's electoral hopes.

Many were concerned it was all political.


However, a bigger section of the Kenyan people elected Uhuru their president because they believed, trusted and respected him.

Four years later, and on the very eve of the next presidential election, the International Criminal Court has 'woken up' and reared its head to raise the spectre of their failed court case once again.

In the last few days – less than two months before elections – as the campaigns get underway in earnest; the ICC's Senior Trial Lawyer Anton Steynberg has called for the reopening of the court's cases.

In his extremely poorly-timed statement, Steynberg did not claim to have any new information or evidence on which to reopen the case, but merely hoped that he would be given the chance to do so.

"I am not about to retire... I can wait," he reportedly said.
Even more problematically, Steynberg appeared to wade into the elections and seemed to indicate that if the Opposition wins the elections, he will have his chance to reopen the long-closed case.


"Who knows, the next regime may be much more cooperative," Steynberg reportedly said.

It is extremely obvious what can be extracted from that statement as it is unlikely a second Jubilee government will be any more or any less cooperative than it has been, so it is quite a clear what win is being sought by the ICC.

These comments point to the possibility of interference in Kenya's domestic democratic and political process.

That a senior member of an international legal institution could display such a position unfortunately continues a long history of personal vendettas from within the ICC against Kenyan leaders.

From the very beginning, even though Uhuru became the first ever head of state to appear before it in The Hague, some within the ICC have used any and all means to discredit the Kenyan President.

Reports surfaced last year in The New York Times that the ICC relied heavily on two witnesses to try and incriminate Uhuru.

One, Mungiki leader Maina Njenga was to be a major witness in the trial.

But Mr Njenga was completely discredited when three members of the Mungiki attempted to extort a bribe in return for information that could help his defence, but when Uhuru refused, they threatened him.


The second was Major-General (retired) Hussein Ali, another defendant in the ICC case, who was said to have been severely pressured and was offered freedom in exchange for testifying against Uhuru.

However, despite the ICC prosecutions, led by Louis Moreno Ocampo's investigations, they could not provide any evidence for the case to go to trial, let alone anything approaching conviction.

Kenyans by the millions saw through this charade and backed Uhuru and Ruto in the last elections.

Like most people, especially those who not long ago threw off colonial rule, the Kenyan people despise undue outside influence and particularly that which pushes them to side against their own.

What is even more insidious is the attempt to reopen the case. This raises severe questions about the Opposition's involvement.

Only a few months ago, Raila openly called for the ICC to jail Uhuru, the elected leader of Kenya.


Questions should be asked whether there is a connection between Raila and the ICC's prosecutor sudden interest in the case so close to elections.

If the connection is proven, then it is an unconscionable betrayal of the Kenyan people and the democratic process.

Recently, Raila has started to call himself 'Joshua' claiming that like the biblical figure he will lead the Kenyan people to the Promised Land.

Either way, certain people at the International Criminal Court have once again demonstrated either gross misconduct in their actions, a personal vendetta or a despicable and unjustifiable interference in Kenya's domestic politics.

Kenyans should once again unite against these attempts by foreign meddlers to influence their votes.

  Mr Duale is the Leader of Majority and the Garissa Township Member of Parliament


ICC Uhuru Kenyatta elections2017
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