Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Jubilee Attack on Civil Society unwarranted

This week parliament reconvened to discuss a motion to withdraw from the Rome Treaty raised by the Jubilee side of the national assembly. The reasons pegged on withdrawal were of course totally irrelevant to the motion itself; withdrawing from the Rome Treaty at this stage will have no effect on the cases currently ongoing at the ICC nor will it prevent future despots from being tried at the ICC for crimes against humanity. In fact, given the highly emotional addresses given by the Jubilee MPs it was clear that theirs was not a legal reason for withdrawing but a reason driven by fear.
Of course they seemed afraid; mainly they scared themselves by making up stuff about the ICC and the role of the civil society. It is so disheartening to see members of the legislature so ignorant of the ICC process and at the same time choose to invent reality.

Claiming that Koffi Annan took Kenya to the ICC and that the civil society fabricated evidence and inserted names in the Waki envelope are not only outrageous untruths they reek of propaganda derived to destroy public trust in the work done by Koffi Annan, the Waki commission and the civil society organizations that responded to assist the victims of the post election violence.
Lest we forget, the churches, the Red Cross society, the Muslim religious organizations and humanitarian organizations all form part of the civil society. Jubilee MPs basically are claiming that these religious organizations and especially those that responded to the humanitarian crisis and documented the atrocities committed against citizens are not only LIARS but also have political motive to send the current President and his Deputy to trial at the International Criminal Court.

How outrageous! It was quite clear that there was absolutely no thought given to the victims of PEV nor was there any consideration given to the suspects themselves! There is a clear distinction between the Executive and the Legislature and from the emotional, ignorant, grandstanding and blatant arrogance displayed; these Jubilee MPs were certainly not demanding a withdrawal for the sake of the sitting president.  When they declared that they were not willing to cooperate with the ICC that was in direct contradiction to the actions and utterances of the suspects themselves.

So why bring a motion to withdraw from the Rome Treaty if it will not affect the current cases? My only guess is that there is a fear that others in future will face similar charges, brought against them, of atrocities they have or are committing which are being documented currently by the civil society organizations.

In the 90s, some of these same MPs sought assistance and support from the same civil society when agitating for multi-party democracy. During the presidential campaigns of 2002 and the subsequent referendum of 2005 and then again in 2007 and in 2010 these politicians were supported greatly by the civil society. Just 6 months ago, these same MPs were not only supported and endorsed; the religious organizations organized prayers for them and rallied parishioners to come out in numbers to vote for them.

Now, barely 6 months down the line, with no logical cause or reason, hell bent emotion and misguided propaganda, these same Jubilee MPs turn around and accuse the civil society of FRAUD because they participated in a STATE sanctioned investigation that resulted in the CIPEV report.
Kenya put into place mechanisms to investigate and determine the perpetrators and masterminds of the PEV.  The principle leaders at the time struggled to bring peace to the nation through a disputed election, the entire international community lent support and eminent dignitaries like Koffi Annan came to arbitrate so that this country could have peace restored. The civil society including churches, Islamic community, the Red Cross and humanitarian organizations struggled to respond to the humanitarian crisis created by the violence; violence instigated by some of the very same MPs now turning around to make false allegations against hundreds of people and organizations who have struggled to bring Kenya back from the precipice of civil conflict.

It is abhorrent that these handful of people thus use the President and his Deputy as scapegoats or excuses to withdraw Kenya from the Rome treaty knowing full well the legal implications of such a withdrawal and the impact it would have on this country as a whole and on the cases specifically.
The attack by Jubilee on the civil society is unwarranted, uncouth and underscores the selfish and irrational nature of their attitudes towards justice in Kenya and the people of Kenya as a whole. It is clear that these MPs are determined to see us live in a state of constant tension and aggravation by polarizing the country and attacking the very civil society that keeps human rights foremost on the country’s conscience.

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