Thursday, September 05, 2013

Relax. What could possibly go wrong?

Uhuru Kenyatta was low-key: the ICC indictment was a personal challenge which he would overcome, just as he had overcome all other political setbacks he had suffered in the past. Mr Kenyatta is now President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces. William Ruto (and his ardent acolytes, no least of which is Aden Duale) was less sanguine about his fate. He is clear who betrayed him to the ICC, and it is not Philip Waki, he of the Waki Envelope. He is clear on the false testimony procured against him. Witnesses have been recanting their testimonies. He is now the Deputy President and the President's boon-friend.

Their coalition in Parliament, and their friends outside Parliament (such as the lunatic fringe in the form of the National Conservative Forum), are taking steps to ensure that the President and Deputy President do not set foot in The Hague-based International Criminal Court premises. Indeed, those in parliament are set to debate the matter this evening for as long as it takes for a Bring-UhuRuto-Back-Home motion to be secured. Those outside Parliament have decided to trouble the Judges of the High Court, which is the constitutional court, with a petition to prevent, more like block, the President and Deputy President from meeting their personal challenges head on or taking on the false witnesses with compelling counter-testimonies of their own.

Quite understandably, Kenyans have emotionally waded into this debate with wildly differing opinions on the matter. Some are so apoplectic that parliament would even schedule such a debate that they have suffered severe indigestion. Others are so grateful for the good work that the National Assembly's Majority Leader they are seriously considering naming or renaming their their spawn after him. There is a third rather dull and unpatriotic group that does not care what happens. They have listened to the political, religious and tribal rhetoric over the matter and have decided to treat all those involved in the affair with contempt bordering on insolence and vice versa.

Kenya is entering uncharted waters. Kenyan presidents are never ever arraigned in court. Nor are their deputies. Parliament is never apparently impotent. Political rallies were never religious tent revival meetings. Even in the dark days of the Shift Wars, the Wagallah Massacre or the Mwakenya Movement, Kenya was never an object of pity from the likes of Uganda or Tanzania, one a dictatorship in all but name and the other a ho-hum economy with a massive inferiority complex. We have sunk so low that even Western investors are seeking green pastures in Somalia!

But we should take all the hyperbole in stride. We did so during the political campaigns. We did so during the presidential election petition hearings. We will do so tomorrow and when the two spend their days in The Hague. Kenya will not disintegrate (unless William Ruto attempts to usurp Uhuru Kenyatta's power.) They have both assembled legal eagles of no mean repute. Witnesses have been recanting. Parts of the cases against them have been abandoned by the Office of the Prosecutor. What could go wrong that Aden Duale and his fellow-parliamentarians and Jeniffer Shammala and the National Conservative Forum see that we cannot?

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