It was fairly easy for some nasty Kenyans to fuel the horrors of the post election violence in Januray 2008 by inciting angry Kenyans and by paying for the chaos to happen. Sadly it is proving to be extremely complex to get justice for the dead, raped, maimed and traumatized folks who through no fault of their own will carry terrible scars for the rest of their lives.
My heart goes out to all those Kenyans in agony over this frustrating turn of events.
For those of us who wait for the foreign ambassadors and heads of mission to speak first before we form an opinion on anything, it has been particularly difficult and confusing time as most locally based envoys seem to favour a local tribunal over taking the cases to the Hague.
Then there has been all the technical issues of entrenching bills in the constitution and votes in parliament that cannot be taken due to lack of quorum.
Well, I love to simplify complex stuff and so let us cut to the chase of this matter in a few brief sentences.
It is true that if all the cases to try post election perpetrators ended up at the Hague it would take ages. Decades actually. Conservative estimates put it at 15 years but most likely it could easily go over 20 years for many of the major suspects to be tried and hopefully convicted.
It is true that a local tribunal would take a much shorter time. However knowing the Kenyan judicial system it is NOT unrealistic to estimate that a suspect with the right crafty “well connected” lawyers can keep the thing in court for over 15 years (ask Brother Paul Pattni of Goldenberg fame for tips on this).
My view is that a local tribunal would be a big waste of time and taxpayers money. We just need to look at what has happened in the past in this country even in big criminal cases to pass the accurate verdict that justice in Kenya is extremely selective and notorious for being "bent" to favour the rich and powerful over the poor ordinary folk. Those foreign envoys and civil society guys pushing for a local tribunal are in dreamland. Kenya bado mapabano.
So what would be the solution?
Glad you asked.
The way forward would be for us to go to the Hague for now. Even if it takes 100 years. At least victims have a fighting chance that their unborn ancestors will be around to one day reap the satisfaction of finally receiveing justice.
Of great urgency are fresh elections?
What do fresh elections have to do with the post election justice issue?
Well it is very simple. What we have in Kenya now is a case where some suspected violent robbers and key suspects are acting as consultants in the manner in which they will be tried and making all the rules and laws that will control their trials. So what do you expect?
Kumekucha titbits: Laptops get dropped all the time. Did you know that this can easily cause your hard drive to crash with vital data and information trapped inside? Hard disk recovery in Kenya exists and could be your only option if such an eventuality emerged.
Is it surprising that one of the popular clauses on both sides of the house currently that is being pushed for is the ridiculous idea of having suspects continue to serve in public offices until proven guilty. The suspects of course already know that it will take decades for their cases to be determined and are looking at maybe two terms as a cabinet minister as the case continues. Incidentally this is another reason why some of the same suspects are pushing for the cases to go to the Hague where they will obviously take longer.
So we need an election to rid us of as many of these nasty characters as possible. While it is true that many of the undesirables will still find their way back to parliament, the truth is that there is enough evidence on the ground to suggest that a vast majority of them would shockingly be sent home if an election were held today. Hopefully the next government will be in a much better position to seek swifter justice for post election victims.
The second reason is that Kenyans are keen to halt the current massive stealing going on with the grand coalition government. Not only that. The expenses to "keep this monstrr fed” are crippling the country’s economy and well-being. So it is very urgent that the grand coalition government goes ASAP. Hopefully the ridiculous project of building the Prime Minister an office whose cost will ultimately touch the one billion shilling mark can be halted.
So despite all the many obstacles that stand in the way, a general election is a very urgent issue in Kenya just now.
P.S. A blogger gave us an amazing insight yesterday about how virtually every single presidential election we have had in Kenya since the advent of multi-partyism has forced the Kenyan people into a protest vote. It is very important that this time round we avoid this situation and the way to do it is to seek possible candidates early.