Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Don't drink the Kool-Aid, Mr Ng'eno.

Even with his penchant for hyperbole, Eric Ng'eno's violent diatribe against Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General and mediator-in-chief in Kenya's recent political imbroglio, is a thing of wonder. This blogger will not quibble with the general thrust of Mr Ng'eno's assertion; we only wish to examine the violent outburst that Mr Ng'eno's delivery is made. In his rage, Mr Ng'eno glosses over, rather conveniently too, over certain discomfiting events.

The most egregious willful blindness is over whether Kenya should or should not have accepted Mr Annan's, and his Panel of Eminent Africans, mediation efforts. Mr Ng'eno's boss, the President, in stating his case before the African Union while asking for support, had nothing but words of praise for the efforts of the AU and, presumably, the Annan team of Eminent Africans in the aftermath of the 2007 general election. However, even then, Kenya did not have a gun held to its head, metaphorically speaking, by London, Washington, DC, or Brussels; Kenya was in a suicide death-match with itself. Mwai Kibaki could easily have declared, as Mr Ng'eno does, "I won. You lost. Deal with it!" and let the country burn for as long as it took for everyone to accept that "coalitions are unconstitutional!" One outcome of the coalition government that Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga built was to "visit excruciating grief on Kenyans and [lead] to spectacular dysfunction and corruption." Among the persons who would be implicated in the dysfunction and corruption, if the doctrine of collective responsibility is to apply, are Mr Ng'eno's boss, the President, and the Deputy President.

As it is, Mwai Kibaki charted a middle course that tamped down the blazing fire, never quite putting it out, and agreed to mediation, to a coalition and to a reform agenda that gave Kenya a Constitution that had eluded it for a decade. Regarding the incredible claim that Justice Waki's Commission violated the law, the proof is in that not even Mr Ng'eno's boss thought to challenge the foundation of the Commission's decision to prepare a separate list of suspects to be presented to the mediator-in-chief who would hand them over to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court if Mwai Kibaki's government failed to implement the recommendations of the Justice Waki Commission.

In word and reluctant deed, a Deputy Prime Minister and a former Minister for Higher Education agreed to the establishment of a local tribunal and supported three Bills in the National Assembly to establish such a local tribunal. Now I am speculating about this, and I will take my lumps when they come, but the Deputy Prime Minister's and the former Minister's supporters in and out of Parliament rejected the local tribunal. They were very emphatic about it. "Don't be vague; Go to The Hague" they chanted, over and over, derisively too, at the Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. Indeed, the former Minister was quoted, and it might have been out of context, stating that he did not trust that credible investigations would take place without the involvement of world-renowned experts from the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation or the London Metropolitan Police Service, better and popularly known as Scotland Yard. The Deputy Prime Minister is now President; the former Minister is now Deputy President.

Once you cut through the violent rhetoric, one question remains unanswered: has Mr Annan's argument that the victim's must be served too been dealt with? The President eloquently stated his case before the AU regarding the victims of the PEV. Within six months of the election of his government, the PEV IDPs had all been resettled and all their camps closed for good. And he spoke the truth. But not one of them has seen justice being done. If it was all about the resettlement of the landless, victim and charlatan alike, this matter would not be receiving the attentions of the ICC or the civil society industry. Mr Ng'eno must confront the ugly truth.

Kenyans were murdered, Kenyans were brutally maimed, Kenyans were raped, Kenyans were robbed, and Kenyans were chased from their homes and their homes set on fire. Churches were set on fire. Businesses were set on fire. Brutal crimes were committed in the name of electoral combat. A Commission inquired into it all. The Commission prepared its report and made recommendations. The President and Prime Minister, in a rare show of unanimity, agreed to implement the recommendations in toto. As did the Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister. Among the recommendations, which did not face judicial or political challenge, was the secret envelope's journey to the ICC. Mwai Kibaki did what he could with what he had to prevent the secret envelope from landing in Luis Moreno-Ocampo's desk. He failed. And here we are today.

Harry Houdini could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a room. He was the master-illusionist. Mr Ng'eno is not a master illusionist. Shining his torch and waving his pitchfork and screaming bloody murder at the inept Kofi Annan will not hide the facts from the discerning. When we were burning down the country, "democratic sovereignty" was not our watchword. When we were giving testimony to not one but two Commissions of Inquiry, both of which had foreigners, we did not speak of "democratic sovereignty." When the spectre of the ICC was waved in our faces, we embraced it, not thinking that we would invoke the spirit of "democratic sovereignty" later on to back out of it. It is important to remind ourselves of how we got here. We are here, today. How we get out is not by lying to ourselves, or lying to our people. And Kofi Annan is no longer a factor of importance.

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