Kenyans must rethink homegrown solutions to 2007 post election violence

The IDP camps in various parts of the country are ugly scenes and are constant reminder of political short sightedness of our political system and leadership. It is unfortunate that the government has not evolved a strategic and systematic legal frame work to address the plight of victims of political violence three years after.

For how long will Kenyan live as refugee in their own country? It is inhuman to have citizens stay in ram shackles and in hopelessness having been uprooted from their homes courtesy of greedy and tribalistic political competitors.

It is pertinent that the welfare of victims of post election violence be addressed. These citizens suffered social, economic, health and psychological loses. Some lost life, self advancement opportunities including education and wanton destruction of private property. Others were maimed. A legislation providing for resolving these issues should be enacted.

It is not enough for the government to be obsessed with a disgraced land allocation programme which has become a cash cow for corrupt government officials and disgruntled civil society opportunists.

It is naïve to think that families who were uprooted from their homelands, their relative killed by political hooligans, sibling deprived bread winners merely need a meager piece of land to remedy their elaborate misery.

As a matter of right they deserve more realistic justice and equitable compensation. Majority of the IDP know their aggressors. Indeed some of these criminals are still in illegal occupation and possession of their victims properties. It is this realization that makes it crucial that a legislation which addresses the plight of the IDPS and victims of political violence be enacted. A Bill akin to Political Violence Victims Protection and Compensation need to be put in place. Under such Bill a special court to expediently adjudicate victims concerns should be provided for.

Kenyans must redeem themselves from imagining that solutions to their historic and political injustices purely rest with foreign entities such as the ICC.As much as it is crucial that the perpetrators of 2007 post election violence be prosecuted and punished it is laughable for Kenyans to sit and meekly await substantive justice for victims from ICC

Today the ICC prosecutor has revealed the identity of some individuals he associate with perpetration of acts of violence, obviously he will not have solution to the IDP menace. The ICC has no mechanism for compensation and or substantive remedy for victims. One would have wished that the ICC look beyond the alleged six individuals and be a progressive instrument of justice committed to building capacity of domestic prosecutions while supporting efforts to end impunity taking into account stability of nations.

Listening to the ICC prosecutor talk in Nairobi on the time frame the cases will take and the fact that he is interested on the acts as opposed to the circumstance that caused the violence, one is left gasping for breath awaiting the melodrama Kenyans will be subjected to in the years to come. Indeed it will be instructive to watch and see the individuals who ICC prosecutor will be seek to indict.

Kenyans know the genesis of the 2007 post election violence and unless the real culprits are charged the theatrics thereof will be tantamount to nurturing impunity and big men syndrome.

Since establishment of the ICC eight years ago the ICC prosecutor has demonstrated real weakness of not pursuing the perpetrators in position of powers, a case in point being DRC, Uganda, and Central Africa. Rather he has concentrated on pursuing rebels and political subordinates. Equally the ICC Seem not to have expanded its scope beyond Africa to Europe save recently informal investigations in Cambodia and Afhaganistan.

The implementation of the new constitution and establishing of effective institutions should override the blind belief that ICC is the Kenyans Messiah. The ordinary Kenyan citizens, the middle class, youth and reformist interest groups must come out and zealously articulate for implementation of the constitution.

Instant disbanding of the Kiplagat led Truth and Reconciliation Commission and replacement with a more credible and acceptable body armed with resolve and patriotism to move this country forward for posterity is pertinent.

The coalition government as current constituted should direct its energy to the implementation of the new constitution and relegate the agenda of prosecution of perpetrators of post election violence.

This government is a product of the post election violence and negotiations thereafter and therefore cannot objectively handle or cooperate with ICC in such agenda. Possibly the next government will be better placed to wrestle with the issues surrounding the 2007 political violence and its aftermath. There should be no regrets if the government withholds cooperation with ICC.

This country cannot be built on vendetta, vindictiveness and ceding of its sovereignty to some colorless foreign operatives while pretending to honour some international pacts. Gallants sons and daughters of Kenyans lost lives and liberty in pursuit of self governance so that Kenya can autonomously run its affairs and confront her challenges for well good of the citizens.

This can only be possible by nurturing and build strong institutions including the judiciary as envisaged under the new constitution. Kenyans leaders must be dynamic and ably handle challenges taking into account the changing times and political circumstances to accommodate best interest of the country. Having realized a new constitutional order,the ICC idea is superfluous particularly when it risk politicization.

It is indeed questionable why some foreign envoys whose countries are not privy to the Rome Statute are dictating to Kenyans the ICC methodology of resolving the post election violence. Kenyans should not dance with the devil while chasing elusive speculative justice at expense of national stability. A realistic and speedy solution to remedy the plight of the victims of post election violence is an urgent priority worth rethinking.

George N. Kimani, Nairobi (The writer is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya)

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