The real nightmare is just beginning for Ruto and Sang at the Hague

December 9, 2014 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Joe Khamisi

Three years ago Kenya was in a state of shock after the indictment by the Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC) of six Kenyans accused of crimes against humanity.

Three of them, Francis Muthaura, Henry Kosgey and Mohammed Hussein Ali, were speedily let go for lack of evidence.

The remaining three, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto – then aspiring candidates for the Executive – and Joshua Arap Sang, a radio journalist, were declared as people bearing the greatest responsibility for the serious crimes committed after the disputed 2007 general elections in which over a thousand people were killed and tens of thousands displaced.

Last week, all the charges against Uhuru were withdrawn – not dropped – for lack of evidence, and since then many Kenyans have been celebrating. Unless the prosecution miraculously comes up with fresh evidence to bring Uhuru back in the dock the case is as good as closed.

As for Ruto and Sang, the final nightmare is just now beginning. In the coming months, Kenya and the world will know whether these two patriotic Kenyans will follow in the footsteps of warlords Liberian Charles Taylor and Congolese Thomas Lubanga now serving long jail sentences for faintly similar charges, or, join Uhuru in freedom and carry on with life without the albatross of a criminal indictment.

The idea of having any one of them or both jailed is hard to fathom. They have said many times they are innocent. I want to believe them.

But the release of Uhuru from the ICC tentacles brings a new dimension into the prosecution case. From the very beginning, then prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, said he would teach the suspects a lesson in order to send a message to the world that violence would not be tolerated.

It was his intention that all the six suspects be successfully prosecuted and punished. Ocampo’s successor, Fatou Bensouda, has been treading on the same line, determined as ever to secure a conviction.

With the latest development I am compelled to believe that Ruto and Sang are lambs who could be sacrificed to assuage Bensouda’s failures in the Uhuru case. The two may be forced to carry the cross on behalf of all those murderers, rapists, arsonists and looters who went on rampage to satisfy personal, ethnic and political interests.

This is my biggest fear, and that fear will not dissipate until judgement is given.

For now, I look up to Uhuru to lead Kenyans in prayers and to ensure all resources are available to fight the lies and allegations that have, and continue to be made, by enshrouded witnesses at the Hague.

At the same time, the Uhuru Administration must move with alacrity to ensure justice for all the thousands of victims whose future now seem even bleaker.

Instead of being at the centre of the ICC process, the victims still languishing in poverty in parts of the Rift Valley and the Central Province, have unfortunately been relegated to the periphery. They were assigned a lawyer OK, but little of their side of the story has been heard in a manner that ensures fairness.

My view is that reconciliation of the various ethnic communities in Kenya cannot be achieved fully until justice is done and is seen to be done for the victims.

The least the Kenya Government can do is to reopen the stalled investigations into the affair, and move quickly to set up special tribunals – the Rwanda way – to try those involved.

Going into yet another general election with the 2007/2008 baggage is imprudent and dangerous.

 

 

 

 

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Joe Khamisi

Joe Khamisi is a former journalist, diplomat and Member of Parliament. He is also the Author of the Politics of Betrayal:Diary of a Kenyan Legislator, a political memoir about the situation in Kenya between 2001, when the ruling party of President Daniel Arap Moi, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), merged with Raila Odinga’s National Development Party.

The book also narrates cases of corruption in Parliament and in the Media and records Senator Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2006. As a friend of Barack Obama Senior, the author also remembers the times and tragedies of the American-educated economist.

Joe Khamisi’s second book, a biography, ‘Dash Before Dusk’, has recently been published and is now on sale.

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In addition to the above books, Joe Khamisi blogs at http://joekhamisi.wordpress.com/http://joekhamisi.blogspot.ca/ and for media enquiries can be reached at joekhamisi@yahoo.com

(This article is courtesy of Joe Khamisi and was originally published at the above blog on 7th December 2014)

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