By KIPKOECH TANUI
Like you, I am asking myself what Kamatusa and Gema can do to get International Criminal Court off the backs of Mr William Ruto and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. I have left out other suspects because I doubt Uhuru and Ruto miss sleep about them, first because in this ICC race it is survival for the fittest, and secondly, the main preoccupation is with State House.
Mr Francis Muthaura could just be Mr Mwai Kibaki’s headache because wherever he is mentioned in the context of post-election violence, and the abuse of State machinery, the President’s name lurks in the shadows. We can reasonably argue there is very little the old man from Meru could have done without clearance from Othaya MP, unless it is true he never did those things or he was a renegade in office and we did not know.
We could also say where he acted outside the orders of the President, Muthaura must have invoked his name or made it clear he was acting in his interest, otherwise Kibaki would have fired him long ago. But of course no one is saying that Muthaura is guilty, it is just that the charges against him, like those hanging on Ruto, Uhuru and Sang’s necks are gross and grave.
It is also because Muthaura’s case is unique as it is hinged on the controls he had over the State machinery and the more serious charge he ordered the Police Commissioner to let his mboys look the other way as Mungiki youths killed in Naivasha and Nakuru.
If we are to believe Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the supplier of the armed youths was son the of Jomo himself, and the two jointly organised a meeting between Mungiki and the President at State House, where money changed hands and the revenge killings cleared.
Now back to our question on what Kamatusa and Gema can do to relax the ICC’s fingers squeezing Ruto and Uhuru by the neck. I approach this sensitive subject purely as a layman in law, and aware of those who are quick to read any criticism of the approach these two take against ICC to mean the critic is happy to see them roast on The Hague pyre. However, what Uhuru and Ruto ought to know is the soothsayers around them may mean well but again good intentions alone aren’t enough. For example, I expected that because Gema was the first to built a firewall against ICC around Uhuru in Limuru, Ruto’s advisors would have advised him not to follow suit having seen how Kenyatta’s misfired.
You see the Gema coronation, apart from rekindling the fears Kenyans had of the Central Kenya political and business mafia during Jomo era, this tribal jig dented Uhuru’s image in several ways. One, it quickly showed that he is now ravenously a project of a class and tribe, when he should be aspiring to come out as one who can be trusted to take care of the interests of all Kenyan communities. Two, it showed he is shackled by tribal interests and only over his dead body would the other leaders in G7 Alliance hope to get the support of Gema. This is because the Limuru meeting was the clearinghouse of the coded message from Gema communities that Uhuru must run at all costs and all the others in the alliance must play second fiddle.
But even more significant for Ruto and Uhuru was the interest ICC has taken in their so-called peace meetings, complete with plan to hire Kalenjin and Kikuyu translators.
Yes, it is one thing to flex your muscle by rallying tribes behind oneself to prove a political point, but it is another to act in a manner that reinforces ICC’s perception that you are not what you said you are when you last addressed Justice Ekaterina in The Hague’s winter.
I say so because the backbone of Ocampo case is they are the captains or kings of their tribes and their word is law in these Bantustans and Kale blocs. So the point Ocampo sold to the judges and managed to secure a confirmation, which should worry the suspects who have been quick to dismiss the Argentine lawyer, is that during post-election violence, Uhuru marshalled the Kikuyu youths and Ruto the Kalenjin.
Now they said they have no power over their communities, but are demonstrating they are at their beck and call. As I see it, and I could be wrong, it is a gargantuan task for these two notable leaders to try and draw a line between the campaigns for presidency, which in itself is a tribal race, and the cases for which they have one appeal left.
So what we are arguing here is there is a real chance the Judges who will handle the trial and who were not on Ekaterina’s bench will read in the million-signature list these two will submit to ICC as a confirmation they actually are more than pre-colonial paramount chiefs in their communities and associate tribes.
This is beside the fear spurned by the West that underlying their push for postponement of until they are to run could be threat that instability will follow if they are not on the ballot, and so that is why we already have prayer rallies.
So what is the prescription? Simple, go fight in the ICC courtroom, demolish Ocampo’s case and show some respect for the Judges and the court. We have two living examples in Kenya of the magic this strategy works and it is cheaper and demands lesser energy.
The writer is Managing Editor, Daily Editions, at The Standard.