What were the political objectives behind the Bashir visit to Kenya during the recent promulgation of the new constitution?
What analysts and insiders have to say is so fascinating that it almost borders on the bizarre.
But first some shocking inside information. President Al Bashir left Kenya very hurriedly after the ceremony at Uhuru Park and although he came in through Wilson Airport, he left via the Moi Air base using the presidential jet. His own jet was left idling on the runaway at Wilson airport where unconfirmed reports indicate that a trap to attempt to arrest him had been set. It is not clear who may have been behind this gallant move to arrest Bashir but there are claims that the Americans were heavily involved (unofficially because they never signed the Rome statute). But this raises more questions than answers including the big one. Would it be possible to “unofficially” arrest a visiting head of state who has been invited by the host nation?
Anyway nagging questions aside, all this happened after the military were instructed to cut down dramatically on their rehearsed parade so that the function would be speeded up and completed much earlier. It is believed the main reason was to ensure Al Bashir’s safe exit out of Kenya. Some insiders go as far as saying that Kibaki was advised by NSIS chief Michael Gichangi that there were plans under way to attempt to arrest Al Bashir. The panic from this news is what is said to have caused the military parade and the ceremony to be cut short. Bashir was then smuggled out of Uhuru Park to State House and on to Moi Air Base Eastleigh for a quick flight back to Khartoum. He skipping the state luncheon and abandoned his own plane at Wilson Airport.
Not forgetting that Wilson airport was shut down for the first time in the history of the country solely for the use of President Al Bashir.
Skeptics who dispel the whole story about the behind the scenes drama over the basher story are hard pressed to explain why he entered and exited the country at different points.
Now the big question here is why would somebody take all this trouble caused by the invitation of a single guest to Nairobi? What would make all this trouble worth it? What was the main political objective?
There is mounting evidence that the Bashir visit was aimed at discrediting the ICC and its’ efforts to get to the bottom of the 2007 post-election violence that left so many Kenyans maimed raped and dead. Some of the chief perpetuators of the crimes against humanity committed mainly in January 2008 after the stolen election of late December are senior people in government who are very close to the president and he is keen that they are let off the hook. Hence all the Bashir acrobatics to score pints against the ICC and create an impression of how toothless they are. It is interesting to note that ICC special prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo revealed during one of his visits into the country that the ICC’s intervention had blocked Bashir from a planned visit to Uganda at the request of President Yoweri Museveni. Bashir’s toothy constant grin to the cameras in Nairobi was no doubt mainly for the benefit of the ICC. Bashir was telling them, “catch me if you can.”
More interestingly most political analysts agree that the plan worked and that indeed a lot of thunder has been stolen from the tempo created by ICC more so recently when they fully set up shop in the country to prepare for the impending prosecutions. These analysts insist that this master political stroke by Kibaki will be difficult to reverse and will have an impact on the planned prosecutions in Kenya. For instance the whole issue has attracted attention and given more credence to the cowardly ruling by the African Union to ask the ICC to withdraw the arrest warrant against Al Bashir.
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