Hon Tim Wanyonyi, MP, Westlands Constituency
The attempts by the Jubilee Government to withdraw Kenya out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are a sham. As indicated in the Rome Statute of the ICC, a withdrawal exposes Kenyans and does not have any impact on the open cases nor on the State’s pre-existing obligations regarding cases that are already open before the ICC. More so, pulling out of the International Criminal Court for offences allegedly committed by individuals is not in the best interest of Kenya. The cases before the ICC are against individuals and not Kenya as a State. It must be remembered that the opponents of the ICC are the same people who strongly voted against the establishment of a local tribunal to try the post-election violence (PEV) cases. They imagined it was their opponents who were to face charges at The Hague.
Politicians against the ICC have managed to make the cases ethnic and convinced many Kenyans from the communities where those charged hailed from to believe their communities had been charged. Similar attempts have been made to have Kenyans believe the cases are Kenyan cases hence the need to pull Kenya out of the Hague based court. They have also been several attempts to Africanize the cases so that African countries could withdraw from the Rome Statute en masse. These attempts have r failed.
The efforts by the Jubilee Government remind us of the events of 1982. In 1982, Parliament changed the Constitution to make Kenya a one-party state, under KANU, a move that made the Kenya an official dictatorship, encouraged corruption and led to more oppression, massacres, even torture than ever before. This was done in the name of sovereignty, Africanism and the will of the people. The same efforts are being tried in Kenya. The Jubilee Government has been claiming that the ICC is adverse to Kenya’s national interests and is opposed to the position advanced by the entire African region. One wonders what Kenyans interests are! The Jubilee Government should stop wasting taxpayers’ money on foreign trips to African Union in an alternative that has failed previously.
It must be noted that the international community put up the ICC because of impunity exhibited by defiant rulers. ICC was intended to check this impunity and try those leaders by acts regarded as crimes against humanity, which their states are unable or unwilling to try. The Jubilee Government cannot therefore claim that pulling out will be a severe blow to the ICC. It is the people of this country who will suffer should Jubilee decide to withdraw from the Rome Statue. It must also be realized that states subscribed to the ICC membership as individuals and if any is to pull out then it will have to do so as an individual state.
The attempts to withdraw from ICC send the message to Kenyans that what happens to them does not matter. But those who violently torture, and kill them or displace them from their homes would not be brought to account and the Kenyan Government doesn’t actually care about them. The ICC is not a threat to Kenyans as the Government would want us belief. The talk of ICC being a threat to Kenya’s insecurity is a joke and sent sentiments can only come from a Government that has failed to deliver on its constitutional mandate and on its promises to Kenyans.
Kenya has so many challenges which Kenyans expect the Jubilee Government to provide solutions to. These challenges include insecurity, ethnic exclusion in appointments, the rising cost of living and unemployment among others. The fact that the central Government is aware of all these challenges and chooses instead to focus state resources to rally African countries to pull out of the ICC shows how the Jubilee Government has failed Kenyans.
Hon Tim Wanyonyi is the MP, Westlands Constituency in Nairobi