Flashback: The body of a woman lies on the floor as her child cries during ethnic clashes in Naivasha, about 60 km (37 miles) west of Nairobi, January 27, 2008, after members of Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe fought running battles with the Luos and the Kalenjins who back Kibaki's rival Raila Odinga. The clashes killed at least 10 people in Kenya's Rift Valley on Sunday as former U.N. chief Kofi Annan met Odinga to try to resolve a month-long crisis that has claimed 750 lives. REUTERS/George Phicipas (KENYA)
Thank heavens for small mercies, the road to justice for post elections violence victims has begun. The war against impunity in Kenya is underway.
This morning, history unfolded with appearance of suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, former Minister for Industrialisation Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua Arap Sang - all from the ODM wing - appeared at the ICC in Hague for the preliminary hearing to face charges that include of murder, deportation, persecutions and torture.
More history is due to unfold tomorrow when Uhuru Kenyatta - deputy PM and scion of founding President Jomo Kenyatta - is set to make his appearance at the ICC alongside Chief Secretary Francis Kirimi Muthaura and former police commissioner Maj-Gen Mohammed Hussein Ali to face charges of murder, deportation, persecutions and rape.
Very serious crimes against humanity indeed. Here at Kumekucha, we predicted these unlikely scenes way back in 2008. In actual sense Kibaki's fate in tomorrow's and other hearing hangs by a thread especially if Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali confess and prove that they were acting under the orders of the then duly erected (pun intended) Commander in Chief with a clearly defined chain of command. Looking at the ICC summons, no such fears exists for Raila and ODM's Pentagon, although the party has sent legal representatives to observe the proceedings.
While Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova was issuing stern warnings to Messrs Ruto, Kosgey and Sang informing them that the ICC would issue warrants of arrest should the suspects continue to make remarks that are likely to retrigger violence in Kenya, outside the court, some 40 Kenyan MPs gathered to protest against the proceedings, singing and chanting prayers. These are MPs who do not pay tax and who the country are relying on to fastrack the implementation of the new constitution making a fool of themselves, embarrassing the country in front of international press in a foreign country just because they got free tickets and good allowances to make a Hague appearance ostensibly to offer moral support and intimidate the International Criminal Court!
Uhuru and Ruto - christened 'powerful' and 'frontrunners' by the discredited Kenyan mainstream media - have lately held highly emotional nationwide political rallies with most speakers directing their heat towards Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and blaming him for all their tribulations. What Ruto and Uhuru did not know, is that the ICC has been following what they say at these rallies very keenly and today's proceedings confirms what is technically a GAG ORDER on the accused. A casual look at the MPs who opposed the formation of a local tribunal when it was brought to parliament up to three times show that it was actually Uhuru and Ruto's allies who failed to support the bills in the presence of PM Raila and President Kibaki. Like they say, mtoto akililia wembe, mpe! Na sasa wamepewa!
Back in court, a fidgety, restless and arrogant Ruto had to be warned several times by the presiding judge to 'sit down'. Ruto belittled the court when he was quoted as wondering why he had to be 'dragged' up to this place, meaning the ICC, and later contradicted himself by conceding he been sufficiently briefed and clearly understood why he had been summoned by the ICC. Flip flopping on topical issues does not add points at the court.
The pretrial judges have set September 1 as the date for a hearing to confirm the charges and determine whether the suspects should be ordered to stand trial. With an eye on 2012, Ruto's lawyers wanted this date brought forward. But thankfully, this is not the corrupt Kenya judiciary but the ICC where respect of rule of law is paramount and proceedings are conduted through pre-determined procedure.
The court also set a date of April 18 for a status hearing to discuss evidence disclosure. If successful, Kenyans should brace themselves to hear horrific tales of what the masterminds did in visiting terror against innocent civilians.