Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jubilee to Rule Kenya for the Next 20 Years?

A Digital Essay by Onyang Oloo

Over this very past weekend, I bought a stack of Nairobi-based news publications.

Apart from my regular staples- the Star, the Daily Nation and the Standard- I also picked up a couple of tabloids for my titillation as well as the somewhat cerebral East African (I always look forward to Muthoni Wanyeki’s weekly column and the occasional op-ed from Tee Ngugi among others) and The Counties, launched last year by the Standard Group.

I spent hours poring over the words in the newsprint, reading on and off through Saturday, picking the Sunday papers the next day and voraciously nibbling at the Monday dailies as well.

Two headlines stood out for me.

From The Counties, this story:

Uhuru, Ruto work on Jubilee’s 20-year rule

Where I read inter alia that:

The Jubilee government has set its eyes on how to first remain in power for the next 20 years by ensuring that President Uhuru Kenyatta is succeeded by Deputy President William Ruto.

And then I turn to the front page headline in the  November 11th edition of the Daily Nation:

Quit Call by Ruto ally rocks Jubilee

Informing us that:

A senator allied to Deputy President William Ruto has demanded the resignation of more than 10 top government officials whom he accuses of “coaching witnesses” to implicate Mr. Ruto at the International Criminal Court. In a statement likely to rock the Jubilee Coalition, Kericho Senator Charles Keter-one of Mr. Ruto’s closest allies-sensationally called for the resignation of the unnamed officials, threatening that if they did not, they will be forced out of office.

Is there a connection between these two headlines from different publications?

We shall see, won’t we?

 Don’t get off the matatu-we have just begun our digital cruise, navigating through the bumpy, pot holed dilapidated, traffic jammed Jogoo Roads of Kenyan politics.

Back to the 20 year Jubilee pledge to govern Kenya without interruption.

When is the last time Kenyans heard something eerily reminiscent?

Oh yes, back in nineties, the salad days of Mtukufu Rais, Mheshimiwa Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, Tawala Tawala…

That is the time when KANU day dreamers were rubbing their corruption fattened fingers and repression hardened palms together in glee, chortling how KANU would misrule Kenya for the NEXT HUNDRED YEARS.

If memory serves me right, William Ruto graduated from being a linchpin of Youth for KANU 92 to being KANU’s Director of Elections to being KANU Secretary General before he got the ultimate promotion of  being KANU’s –sorry Jubilee’s Deputy President in March 2013. Uhuru Kenyatta started off as a nominated KANU MP before crashing out as Moi’s KANU failed project in 2002, reemerging as KANU’s Official Leader of the Opposition, selling out to campaign for Kibaki in 2007, having the dubious distinction of being indicted at the ICC while running for the top office in the land before somehow wangling the KANU-oops! - Jubilee Presidential crown earlier this year.

KANU’s fantasy of dominating Kenyan politics for an entire century in turn evokes another day dream from another continent over seventy years ago.

I am talking of the determination of the Third Reich to rule for 1,000 years- that’s right: TEN TIMES THE NUMBER OF YEARS KANU had set for its unbridled dictatorship.

Now for the younger generation of Kenyan  Illuminati searching, Tweeting Facebookers who live in cyberspace but have never heard of the  Third Reich–despite the fact that Google is on stand by eager to make online  friends only a  click away- the Third Reich was the fascist, totalitarian European regime unleashed upon Germany and the rest of Europe by one of history’s most blood thirsty racist  killers, the 

NAZI Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler whose CV includes gassing at least six million innocent Jews, gays, communists, disabled people and minorities; invading his European neighbours; unleashing the Second Imperialist War which lasted from 1939 to 1945 in a quest to put in place his 1,000 Year Reich Dictatorship before a  combined force of French, Polish, Italian, Greek resistance fighters, Anglo-American invading troops and advancing Communist formations from the Soviet Union toppled this macabre, dastardly, inhuman and brutal Nazi  force, which had the Italian fascist despot 

Benito Mussolini as a junior partner.

Closer to our time, another  buffoon and tyrant, our departed and unlamented Ugandan neighbour Idi Amin Dada declared himself the

“Conqueror of the British Empire” while his cartoonish,  quixotic pal  

Jean Bedel Bokassa  with delusions of being  the Central African reincarnation of yet another expired  tyrant, Napoleon Bonaparte,   in a surreal spectacle, crowning  himself “Emperor” of his impoverished, tiny neo-colonial backwater banana republic  in between storing uneaten human body parts in his royal refrigerator for a mid night snack.

So our 21st Century Made in Kenya Jubilee overseers and slave drivers are in splendid, blood stained historical company-Hitler, Mussolini, Amin, Napoleon, Bokassa and throwing in 

Haiti’s Papa AND Baby Doc Duvalier as a bonus!


I mean…

How RIDICULOUS can one get?

I mean, wasn’t it just the other day that we Kenyans overwhelming passed, celebrated and promulgated the 2010 Kenyan Constitution which affirmed our democratic destiny and social justice trajectory?

Where are all these silly, repressive, undemocratic hallucinations of an unbroken JUBILEE MONARCHY coming from?

Which feverish, mentally confused, marijuana addled craniums are these delusions emanating from?

So what will WE, the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of  patriotic, democratic minded progressive struggling Kenyans BE  DOING FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS while  Uhuru Kenyatta rules for TEN YEARS before passing the baton to William Ruto to lord it over us for ANOTHER TEN YEARS?

Sitting on our hands?

Playing with our genitals?

Watching a pirated DVD of last year’s Big Brother Africa?

Chomping on githeri in Githurai?

Trawling for tilapia off  

Migingo Island?

Waiting for the coconuts to fall on our heads at  

Majengo Sidiria or Mwembe Tanganyika?

Watching an ageing Bonny Khalwale award prizes to winners of a

bull fighting contest at Bukhungu Stadium?
Gyrating to a follow up of Aloka’s ohangla monster hit, Kanungo e Teko?

Have these totally benighted Jubilee day dreamers contemplated the very real possibility that Uhuru Kenyatta  may be a next door neighbour to 

Charles Taylor and that William Ruto may be  a chess partner for many years to come of Lubanga, Gbagbo or some  shady Serbian with an impossible to pronounce  surname consisting entirely of consonants and no vowels?

Over those very TWENTY YEARS?

Please wake up.

Even if you do not smell the kahawa, at least gaze at the sun shining brightly outside your window.

Will the Jubilee Coalition rule Kenya for the NEXT TWENTY YEARS?

Good question.

You see Jubilee is the coming together of two ETHNIC BASED Kenyan elite formations:

The GEMA dominated TNA faction led by Uhuru Kenyatta and Kalenjin preponderant URP clique. Together these two groupings with their leadership historical roots in Moi’s KANU utilized the so called “tyranny” of their tribal numbers to wrest control of the Kenyan neo-colonial state during the March 2013 Presidential, Parliamentary, Gubernatorial, Senatorial and County elections. Today Kenya has a TNA President, a URP Deputy President; a TNA National Assembly Speaker; a URP Senate Speaker; a URP Chief Whip; a TNA Senate Majority Leader; a National Assembly that is dominated by Jubilee and a Senate where Jubilee holds sway. In terms of the Counties, Jubilee has a lot of Governors, Women Representatives and County Representatives.

Using this numerical advantage, the Jubilee Government has rammed through draconian and repressive legislation to muzzle the media and has a nefarious plot in store to shackle civil society. In a most recent act of spite, pettiness and childishness, its National Assembly Majority Leader led a raucous chorus to deny leaders of the opposition their legally mandated emoluments, insisting that CORD leader Raila Odinga and his co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka must first give up their constitutional and democratic rights to participate in national politics if they want to access their pensions and benefits.

It appears that the level of vindictiveness from the Jubilee leadership-a section of which decamped from ODM merely months ago is likely to intensify as the newly fangled Jubilee leadership seems dead set on wreaking revenge and public humiliation of their former colleagues in the former Grand Coalition Government.

United in their tribal vendetta against their CORD adversaries, Jubilee has lately been bruised by brawls that threaten to spill over to the public domain with possibly devastating ramifications unless speedy measures are undertaken in the short term to heal the fissions, fractures and tensions.

However, when it comes to sexism, patriarchy and misogyny, the National Assembly is very  "bipartisan"  as you can  see from this November 13, 2013 Daily Nation report:

Parliament Tuesday evening passed a lop-sided law which strips women of the right to an equal share of family property in case of divorce.

Male MPs changed the Matrimonial Property Bill to say that a man and his wife will share matrimonial property according to each person’s contribution.

They also forced another change to the Bill which, if it becomes law, means that spouses are only entitled to a share of property which is in their joint names. Property which is in the name of only one spouse is no longer matrimonial property.

In its current form, the Bill is a blow to stay-home mothers who contribute to the family in non-financial ways. Also, family property is traditionally and as a matter of routine, registered in the father’s name.

Women MPs wanted a simple formula where the wealth is shared equally, irrespective of what each partner contributed.

But with only 34 women MPs in the House, they were beaten 87-28 in a physical vote.

The House — whose attendance yesterday was unusually high — also passed the Bill which, while requiring the couple to share wealth depending on contribution, says the burden of debt incurred by the family is to be shared equally by both partners. The debt will be shared so long as it was “for the benefit of the marriage”.

According to another amendment pushed by the MPs, matrimonial property is defined as “matrimonial homes, household goods and effects in those homes and any other immoveable or movable property jointly owned by both spouses”.

“If there is any property to be divided, it must be in accordance with the share of each spouse’s contribution to the matrimonial property. It ensures that no one person just sits and waits for the other person,” said Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkong’a, who proposed the amendment.

In the debate touched off by his amendment, there were impassioned speeches.

Dr James Nyikal (Seme, ODM) was among MPs who argued that property ought not to be shared equally irrespective of contribution.

“If it is taken for granted that just being in the marriage everything will be shared equally and there will be no question, I don’t think that will be fair,” said Dr Nyikal.

Ms Millie Odhiambo (Mbita, ODM) lost despite her argument that equal sharing is a constitutional principle and MPs had no business suggesting that the contribution of each partner should be determined.

“The Constitution is very clear about equal rights before, during and after dissolution of a marriage. It is not really anything we have a choice about and that is an argument that we would have had very well when making the Constitution but at this point, unless it is calling for the amendment of the Constitution, the principle is clear in the Constitution,” she said.

Ms Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale County, ODM) argued that women’s contributions to marriages are more than just the financial.

“Mwanamke akiolewa anaweza kuwa pengine hana kazi lakini mfahamu kwamba atakuja kwake kufagia, kumchemshia bwana maji amabayo pia ni contribution, na mengineo mengi ya kuwa waeze kupata equal share (A woman might be unemployed but remember she will clean her husband’s house, warm his bath water and many other things that may be considered a contribution that should enable her get an equal share of any matrimonial property),” she said.

Ms Esther Murugi (Nyeri Town, TNA), said: “Whether the woman has contributed or not, she has fed the man, she has cleaned the man, she has taken care of the family. She is entitled to 50 per cent.”

When Ms Rachel Shebesh, who was chairing the session, put the matter to the vote by acclamation, the amendment appeared to have sailed through, but the women MPs marshalled the numbers to force a physical vote. That was where the men won 87-28.

Mr David Ochieng (Ugenya, ODM) had the MPs return to the Bill after the Third Reading to include the provision that only property that would have been owned jointly would be shared equally.

This drew protests from Ms Wanjiku Muhia (Nyandarua County, TNA), who said that would be unfair to women because many of them are not jointly registered as owners of property acquired by their husbands.

She was supported by Ms Florence Kajuju (Meru County, TNA) who argued along the same lines.

“We don’t live in Utopia. We know that in our society, it is very rare for a woman to be registered as the owner of property,” she said.

The women were once again outnumbered by the men in the vote.

Mr Chepkong’a had to withdraw an amendment removing a provision which allows spouses to go to court to nullify a pre-nuptial agreement if it is determined that it was influenced by fraud, coercion or is manifestly unjust.

Having noted that, let me go back to the aforementioned headline that we cited at the beginning of this digital essay:

Quit Call by Ruto ally rocks Jubilee

A senator allied to Deputy President William Ruto has demanded the resignation of more than 10 top government officials whom he accuses of “coaching witnesses” to implicate Mr. Ruto at the International Criminal Court. In a statement likely to rock the Jubilee Coalition, Kericho Senator Charles Keter-one of Mr. Ruto’s closest allies-sensationally called for the resignation of the unnamed officials, threatening that if they did not, they will be forced out of office.

Read the full story by clicking on this link.

Among the people that Senator Keter wants to get rid of are  

Nancy Gitau,  President Uhuru Kenyatta’s CHIEF Political Advisor and  

Mutea Iringo, the powerful Principal Secretary in charge of Internal Security. Both of them are part of Uhuru’s inner sanctum, effectively members of the kitchen cabinet.

By aiming at the heart of the President’s close circle, Senator Charles Keter is effectively saying that the TNA leadership has essentially set up William Ruto to be trapped for imprisonment by the International Criminal Court, in other words, having used Ruto, URP and the Kalenjin to ascend to power, TNA now want to dump Ruto and save Uhuru in order to consolidate a GEMA hegemony over Kenyan politics.

This is a very grave and serious charge indeed.

Mark you, Charles Keter is a close confidant of William Ruto. When former Prime Minister Raila Odinga dropped Ruto from the Grand Coalition cabinet, he also fired Keter as an assistant minister. It is inconceivable that Keter would go public with his bold demands without not only the knowledge, but more importantly the approval of his URP leader who deputizes Uhuru in the presidency. Indeed, it was first William Ruto himself, speaking through his ICC lawyers who first fingered the cabal around the son of Kenya’s first president as being responsible for his Hague woes.

Kenyans, with their annoyingly fickle and  irritating convenient  political amnesia, should quickly chew on some memory inducing leaves  of the gingko biloba herb (available from  those mushrooming Chinese herbal clinics at Sarit Centre, Village Market, China Centre along Ng’ong’  Road and elsewhere) to flash back that way back in early 2008, the GEMA elite was gung ho, feisty and very adamant about taking some prominent Kenyans to the ICC.  In case any of the latter day anti-imperialist converts have forgotten, let me remind them today in 2013 that in the aftermath of the post election violence crisis, the main ogre, culprit, and demon in the eyes of the GEMA community was one, William Samoei Ruto.  The fulminations from back then were not clandestine or whispered conversations.  

These were loud, frenetic, public denunciations of Ruto and the ODM as the dark forces which were hell bent on carrying out “genocide” against the Agikuyu in the former Rift Valley. Have Kenyans forgotten these public exchanges that were recorded for posterity in among other places, the Jukwaa forum that I founded in 2005 and administer to this date.

It is worth noting that behind the sheer, threadbare veneer; underneath the deceptive fa├žade  of “Jubilee unity“ there is a fierce jostling for supremacy on the part of TNA, and a determined push for power  parity on the part of URP within the elite, tribal Jubilee coalition of expediency. 

Like ALL opportunistic political alliances and  electoral dalliances (and YES, exactly the same sentiments apply to CORD!) Jubilee will sooner or later crack along the cleavages which were there all along. Most Kenyan pundits and political analysts are alive to the palpable tensions and mistrust between the SOCIAL BASES-as opposed to the APEX of TNA and URP respectively. Many of the voters who rallied  behind TNA are quietly nodding their collective heads in affirmation with every new revelation from Fatou Bensouda’s prosecution witnesses against William Ruto.

Likewise, the broader ODM fraternity, which whether they like it or not, URP STILL BELONGS TO, can hardly wait for Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial to commence in  early February 2014 so that the President can be “ nailed” for bankrolling the Mungiki gang for retaliatory attacks in Nakuru and Naivasha in January 2008.

ICC is what twinned Uhuru to Ruto; ICC will be the  sharp axe which separates the political Siamese twins.

 A few months ago, when I was analyzing Jubilee’s cabinet picks, I made the following observation:

Before I delve further into the connection between the World Bank, the IMF and the new Jubilee administration, I want to take a temporary detour and talk briefly about the so called “Washington Consensus”.

Wait a minute!

I have some juicy gossip to share about

Henry Rotich, you know the middle ranking Ministry of Finance functionary who has been catapulted to become head honcho of the revamped Treasury portfolio.

According to page 5 of the April 26th edition of the Standard, Mr. Rotich was the Deputy Director in charge of macro economic policy at the Ministry of Finance since 2006.

That means he was FIVE LEVELS below the minister until just a few days ago. That means he was junior to the permanent secretaries, deputy secretaries, under secretaries and directors that he will now be coordinating and supervising.

Quite a meteoric rise eh?

We all saw the guy sputtering, stuttering, quaking and almost quacking when the President invited him to the State House lectern to say a few words to the wananchi gawking at his image on television screens across Kenya.

Now get this.

All his former bosses are there by dint of the Public Service Commission (the bulk of them at least). The ones who are not going to be relieved of their jobs, retire, or as they say these days, “move on”, will retain their titles and privileges in the Kenyan Mandarinate. It is going to be surreal contemplating the prospect of the relative equivalent of a senior clerk dressing down his former managers- if it comes to that, that is.

But that is NOT what tickled my fancy.

I am made to understand that according to the 50/50 arrangement between TNA and URP, the finance plum job had been RESERVED and GUARANTEED to Deputy President William Ruto.

Those who are assuming that Rotich, because of his Kalenjin surname was Ruto’s pick are in for a rude shock.

Who was Rotich’s Oberhaupt  his Vorgesetzte when Uhuru Kenyatta was still in charge of Finance?

That was a rhetorical question.

Henry Rotich, in turns out, was a TNA pick!

My hard working moles , who must have been furtively eyeballing the  tense vuta-ni-kuvute through the State House key holes,  whispered in my left ear when I was not looking that the REAL POWER behind Uhuru (some well-connected Mt. Kenya Mafia have been cited, including one of the maternal relatives of very senior government officials) simply confronted a rather rattled Uhuru and told him, that despite the Gentleman’s Pact with the other half of the Dynamic Duo, the “House of Mumbi” simply had to keep control of the Treasury for well articulated strategic, ethno-comprador power considerations and interests.

If Uhuru was rattled, then Ruto was keeled over with stupefied astonishment!

It appears that Uhuru was coerced into going along with the assurance that he did not have to propose a Mgikuyu. The simple ploy was to pick an Uhuru loyalist-but from among members of the Kalenjin community. Kenyans would be then hoodwinked into thinking that Henry Rotich was Ruto’s pick. I was told that Ruto had his own nominee.

That is what I was told.

I was not there obviously, so this could be just one of those nasty Made in Nairobi rumours.

Anywayz, to conclude this little tattle tale.

Ruto was reportedly adamant that the cabinet selection process would be halted there and then.

No move until the Dynamic Duo reverted back to the original pact.

That I am told, is REAL REASON WHY THERE WAS SUCH A LONG DELAY in announcing the cabinet.

There was a tense tussle between TNA and URP over the composition and the balance of the Jubilee government with Ruto’s people crying foul as they struggled to unsheathe the dagger from their ambushed backs.

The drip drip announcement of four names today; twelve names a couple days later; that was basically management by crisis.  

A circular had gone out to the media corps to be on hand for a 4 pm State House announcement and the hawk eyed Fourth Estate were parked in the Presidential lawns by 3 pm.

What to tell them?

What to tell the waiting nation?

Announce four names and that was it for the day. Give the media and the country a bone to chew on as heads were scratched, brows furrowed plotting of a Plan B in rolling out the new cabinet.

Is Onyango Oloo telling the truth or just mongering some wild, baseless fabrications?

 I wrote and posted that digital essay way back on Saturday, April 27, 2013 when the Jubilee Government  WAS BARELY ONE MONTH OLD. Click here to go to the original piece.

Given what I have said above, is the Jubilee government going to collapse before the end of the week?

Next month?

Next year?

Probably NOT.

Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are NOT going to  fall out ANY TIME SOON.

There is a LOT: power; the ICC; the need to consolidate comprador bourgeois lucre; real politik, pseudo "Pan African" shenanigans that keeps the so called "dynamic duo"  joined at the hip. Their  humungous ethno-regional electoral constituency has invested in these two. They are not going anywhere any time soon.

What Charles Keter did, being a  typical cynical Kenyan politician, was a  calculated tactical gambit.
Maybe William Ruto has realized that the clique around Uhuru Kenyatta is scheming to delink Uhuru from Ruto in a selfish Central Kenyan elite manouever to save the President's political hide while making his deputy a sacrificial lamb at the ICC altar and  Ruto is simply telling this clique:



Or it could be something else.

All I am saying at this point is that given the subterranean undercurrent of intra-Jubilee tensions, I think that TNA and URP will be kept  quite busy over the next two years keeping tabs and checkmating each other that they will have  HARDLY ANY TIME  to lay out  a grand long term strategy of a twenty year rule.

Besides, CORD is disintegrating before our eyes. I have it on good authority from one of my comrades that one of the CORD senators (outside Ukambani  may I add) who was elected  to the Senate on a Wiper ticket is ALREADY in bed with Jubilee. I think it is only a matter of time before Kalonzo Musyoka does a Kalonzo na kupita katikati akijiunga na  Jubilee. It is NOT such a big secret that SEVERAL of the MPs in ODM and UDF get regular fat envelopes from their Jubilee handlers.

In three years time, there WILL BE NO JUBILEE OR CORD in the sense that we are talking about them in November 2013.

Who can rule out a Raila/Ruto ticket or a Uhuru.Kalonzo ticket in 2017?

And why does one think that the progressive, democratic and radical forces are incapable of getting their act together and putting up a serious presidential candidate  come the next elections?

What I am SURE of is the fact that contemporary Kenyan politics is SO FLUID that it would  be foolhardy in the extreme to start mapping out long range twenty year grand plans for this or that party formation to rule Kenya without interruption.

Onyango Oloo
Nairobi, Kenya
8:00 am, Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is the International Court an “imperialist Court”?

A  Socialist Interrogation by 

Onyango Oloo

We have read and heard people like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Robert Mugabe  of Zimbabwe and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya call the ICC an imperialist, even a racist tool targeting Africa and Africans.

I would not have bothered to write a long essay to respond to the rantings and ravings of assorted African leaders  who have a very tenuous claim to political legitimacy and credibility and whose history of commitment  to Africa’s liberation is not above reproach given their own sordid history when it comes to grappling with the internal challenges of democracy and popular participation within the confines of their respective national boundaries.

1.0.  Some African Critiques of the ICC

What provokes and propels me to grapple with this question is in a way very personal. 

None other than

Benedict  Wachira, the Secretary General of my own party, the Social Democratic Party of Kenya recently shared with the broader reading public a blog piece entitled, “Africans should not search for Justice at The International Criminal Court,” which he shared with me and other comrades in the leadership of our own party. It is important read Wachira’s contribution in full in order to grasp his entire argument. You  can access  the essay at this link. Wachira argues, inter alia:

…the fact remains that the ICC is an imperialist court. Some members of Parliament, the President, his Deputy and some African heads of state seem to have come to this realization just a year or a few months ago. It is true that this court targets and is pleased to try Africans, right from the African Presidents to small time rebels. This is despite the fact that other than the Democratic Republic of Congo, the worst war crimes in the recent years have taken place outside of Africa. It is also not just any other criminal African President/rebel that the ICC targets. Some can actually survive their dragnet if they have good relations with the western powers. In Libya for instance, armed rebels toppled and murdered Muammar Gaddafi with the support of the imperialist countries. In the process, they killed thousands of dark skinned Africans Workers who were operating in the different economic sectors in Libya. Today, it is Gaddafi’s son, Saif who is standing trial at the ICC and not the racist Al Qaeda linked rebels. (Nobody is telling us who is currently mining Libya’s oil). In the case of Ivory Coast, a rebel leader, Allasane Ouattara violently ousted President Laurent Gbagbo from power, with direct combat involvement of the French Army. While Ouattara had destabilized the north for many years, causing uncountable deaths and untold suffering to the people of Ivory Coast, it is Laurent Gbagbo who is sitting at the ICC, and not Ouattara. The biggest culprit in the DRC conflict which has claimed over 6 million lives is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, who at this moment a darling of imperialism hence untouchable by the ICC.
This is a view shared by 

Zaya Yeebo, the Ghana born Director of the Nairobi-based Amkeni Kenya in an article done for Pambazuka News:

The  International Criminal Court with its selective justice has become a vehicle for enforcing neocolonial interests in Africa. ICC has proven that it is beholden to countries that are not even signatories to the Rome statute that set it up. Once again, the spotlight is on Africa as four Kenyans – three political leaders and a journalist – have been indicted at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Once again, the question that has never been answered is, why Africa? And why the speed? In Anglo-Saxon parts of the world, some leaders are treated with kids’ gloves when they commit ‘crimes against humanity’. Others, like the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George Bush, go to write memoirs defending their abuse of international laws.  Let us put this in context, in Ivory Coast, ex-President Laurent Gbagbo was ‘abducted’ (the words used by Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana) at midnight and carted off to The Hague. In my view, his crimes remain unknown except to the French and his Ivorian adversaries. Charles Taylor (Liberia) remains in The Hague incarcerated. Now we learn that all along, the former President of Liberia may have been a CIA agent. So we can guess why the leadership of the United States would like to see him remain in The Hague. He knows too much. In the case of Libya, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his sons were even indicted before the ICC could establish whether they had committed crimes ‘against humanity.’ Other Africans from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are also facing charges in The Hague. In the Sudan, a sitting head of state, President Omar Bashir, has also been indicted. The queue of Africans waiting to be hanged by this international court is endless.  Yet, a cursory glance at the world also tells of many crimes committed against ordinary citizens – from Palestine to Afghanistan, to Libya and, of course, Iraq. Who bears responsibility for these crimes? Are we suggesting that the lives of Iraqi, Libyan and Palestinian children and women do not matter? How come no one is facing so-called justice in The Hague? This raises serious questions about the selective justice and double standards of the international systems of justice that is selectively applied to Africa and especially African leaders by the so-called ‘international community’. It leaves me with no option but to conclude that the ICC has become a vehicle for enforcing neocolonial interest in Africa, which members of the UN Security Council can exploit. What is even more worrying is that the ICC has become a tool in the hands of vicious African elite/politicians fighting for the national cake. All it takes is to convince the so-called international community that your opponent needs to go to The Hague. I will suggest in all seriousness that serious crimes against humanity have been committed in Libya by NATO forces, and by both sides in the post-election crisis in the Ivory Coast. But we are yet to see some action on that front. The work of the ICC will make sense, and justice will be served, if the leaders who authorised the bombing of Tripoli under the guise of UN resolutions also face the same justice that the Kenyans are supposedly going to face.
And here is a famous diatribe from  the New African  magazine when they ran a special issue onAfrica and the ICC   in March 2012:

It was Alexander Murdoch Mackay, the Scottish Presbyterian missionary to Uganda, who observed in 1889: “In former years, the universal aim was to steal Africans from Africa. Today the determination of Europe is to steal Africa from the Africans.” A hundred and twenty-three years later, Europe appears to still be trying to steal both Africa and the Africans. They are now using their new creation, the International Criminal Court (ICC), to steal Africans from Africa to put on show-trials in Western Europe.

This has been seen as a means of destabilising the African continent – something which then makes the political domination of Africa and the subsequent exploitation of African minerals and resources that much easier. As the African Union has put it: “The abuse and misuse of indictments against African leaders have a destabilising effect that will negatively impact on political, social and economic development of member states and their ability to conduct international relations…”

The ICC’s actions have provoked furious debates over the Court’s potential impact, its exclusive focus on Africa over other parts of the world, its selection of cases, and the effect of its indictments and prosecutions on peace processes on the African continent. Over-zealous evangelism has been caught up in double standards, hypocrisy, racial stereotyping, and national and personal agendas.

Judge Richard Goldstone (the ICC enthusiast from South Africa), has highlighted the political nature of the international criminal tribunals that preceded the ICC: “The problem with the UN Security Council is that it says no in the case of Cambodia, Mozambique, Iraq and other places where terrible war crimes have been committed, but yes in the case of Yugoslavia and Rwanda. That’s a political way of deciding where international justice should be meted out. There has long been a concern that these tribunals ‘politicise justice’… It is noteworthy that no ad hoc tribunals were established to investigate war crimes committed by any of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council or those nations these powerful states might wish to protect.”

Pro.f  Mahmood Mamdani, the influential Ugandan academic, agrees: “The fact of mutual accommodation between the world’s only superpower and an international institution struggling to get its bearings is clear if we take into account the four countries whereby  by 2009  the ICC had launched its investigations: Sudan, Central African Republic, Uganda and DRCongo. All…are places where the US has no objection to the course charted by the ICC investigations.

“In Uganda, the ICC has charged only the leadership of the [rebel group] LRA but not that of the pro-US government headed by President Museveni. In Sudan, the ICC has charged officials of the Sudan government. In DRCongo, the ICC has remained mum about the links between the armies of Uganda and Rwanda – both pro-US – and the ethnic militias that have been at the heart of the slaughter of civilians.

Mamdani notes further that: “The ICC’s attempted accommodation with the powers that be has changed the international face of the Court. Its name notwithstanding, the ICC is rapidly turning into a Western court to try African crimes against humanity. Even then, its approach is selective: it targets governments that are adversaries of the US and ignores US allies, effectively conferring impunity on them.”

In their well-argued paper, “The Impact of Timing of International Criminal Indictments on Peace Processes and Humanitarian Action”, Jacqueline Geis and Alex Mundt noted that “although the ICC was established as an impartial arbiter of international justice, both the timing and nature of its indictments issued to date suggest that the intervention of the ICC in situations of ongoing conflict is influenced by broader external factors.”

“Broader external factors” bring into sharp focus the indictment by the ICC of the ex-Libyan leader, Muammar Al Gathafi, during last year’s NATO war in Libya. Gathafi’s indictment contrasts starkly with the ICC’s silence on the presidents of Syria and Yemen, and the King of Bahrain where similar “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” as alleged by the ICC to have occurred in Libya under Gathafi have happened over the past year. But Gathafi, then being bombed and wanted by the Western powers, was indicted by the ICC, while, to date, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the King of Bahrain Hamadibn Isa Al Khalifa have been left in peace.

Another example is the ICC actions in Sudan regarding the Darfur situation, which have been particularly controversial not least because Sudan, as a non-signatory of the Rome Statute, does not come under the ICC’s jurisdiction. In so doing, the ICC has polarised international opinion on the Court.

Unfortunately for the ICC and Europe, they are targeting Africa at a time when the continent is asserting its political and economic independence. As a result, Africa has rejected European and ICC attempts at regime change by deeply questionable legal diktat. Broadly, the ICC has emerged as a de facto European court, funded by Europe, directed by Europe, and focused almost exclusively on the African continent, and thereby serving Western political and economic interests in Africa.

Geis and Mundt have noted how the ICC’s Africa focus is fragmenting international opinion: “The broad international consensus in favour of the Rome Statute has begun to fray as the Court pursued justice in some of the world’s most politically charged and complex crises, all of which happened to fall within Africa. At the same time, other states such as Burma and North Korea have so far eluded potential ICC investigations, most likely for geopolitical reasons and/or deference to regional interests. Other commentators alleged that the prosecutor has limited investigations to Africa because of geopolitical pressures, either out of a desire to avoid confrontation with major powers or as a tool of Western foreign policy.”

This reality has been picked up by the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame. He has dismissed the ICC as a new form of imperialism created by the West and “put in place only for African countries, only for poor countries”. He said that the ICC reflected “colonialism, slavery and imperialism”.

The distinguished international peace researcher and a past senior vice rector of the United Nations University, Prof. Ramesh Thakur, reflects this growing consensus within the developing world: “A troubling issue is how an initiative of international criminal justice meant to protect vulnerable people from brutal national rulers has managed to be subverted into an instrument of power against vulnerable countries. A court meant to embody and pursue universal justice is in practice reduced to imposing selective justice of the West against the rest.

These are strong words written by people who argue from radical, progressive and ostensibly “anti-imperialist” positions.

2.0.  A Marxist-Leninist Approach to Imperialism

But is it really an incontestable FACT that the International Criminal Court is indeed, “an imperialist court”?

At the risk of invoking the  wrath and ire of my SDP Secretary General Benedict Wachira, who employs withering sarcasm when he dismisses those he deems to be “some confused Pan Africanists and Pseudo-Progressives (who) have chosen to condemn AU’s en masse withdrawal from the ICC and have strongly come into the defense of, and support for the ICC”, I will attempt  to argue for an alternative interpretation of the ICC.

To provide some context  it useful to know that I, too, sit in the Central Committee of the SDP where I serve the Party as the Secretary for Ideology. I am also a former Secretary General of the same party. The SDP’s  ideological orientation is Marxist-Leninist, or Communist if you prefer. We do not use words like “imperialist” lightly in the way some neo-colonial collaborators masquerading as “angry nationalists”  belonging to some mainstream Kenyan political formations are wont to do, especially now that the Hague trials featuring President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang, are finally underway.

Marxist-Leninists, of whom the leaders of the SDP of Kenya are a local sample, use political and ideological terms carefully, after weighing  and analyzing  their ontological , morphological and semantic underpinnings in a thorough, strictly scientific way.

To us who proudly don the COMMUNIST jacket here in Kenya because we think it is an HONOUR to do so, “imperialism” is not just an EMOTIONAL, RACIAL epithet flung impetuously and impulsively at “foreigners” who happen to be born with a Caucasian skin. 

Rather, to consistent Marxist-Leninists the world over, the phenomenon called Imperialism refers to a specific, historically determined, political, social, economic, cultural, technological, ideological POWER relationship rooted in an identifiable mode of production that gives rise to concrete tensions between actual living and breathing classes, nations and regions.

Those who posit that the ICC is “an imperialist court”, are literally inferring that the International Criminal Court is either an entity created by those who hold the levers of  global monopoly capital or it serves  these international capitalists in one way or another. The flip side of this anti-ICC argument  means therefore that the ICC by its very nature is AGAINST the interests of all those dominated, controlled and oppressed by global monopoly capitalism meaning all those countries suffering from colonialism, neo-colonialism and other forms of imperialist oppression. From this it flows that all progressive, anti-imperialist, revolutionary Africans have a DUTY to oppose this imperialist edifice known as the ICC.

But, is it the case that the ICC is a tool of imperialist powers to undermine for example, African sovereignty and the right of countries like Kenya to freely determine their destiny? Does the ICC exist to  do the bidding of the G-8, Uncle Sam, NATO and the leading imperialist powers?

To answer this question, we must deal with the FACTS. We must consult HISTORY.

3.0. History and Origins of the ICC

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
The International Criminal Court  is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression (although jurisdiction for the crime of aggression will not be awakened until 2017 at the earliest).

The ICC was created by the Rome Statute which came into force on 1 July 2002. The Court has established itself in The Hague, Netherlands, but its proceedings may take place anywhere.  It is intended to complement existing national judicial systems, and may only exercise its jurisdiction when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes.

Currently, 122 states are states parties to the Statute of the Court, including all of South America, nearly all of Europe, most of Oceania and roughly half the countries in Africa.  A further 31 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. The law of treaties obliges these states to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty until they declare they do not intend to become a party to the treaty. Three of these states—Israel, Sudan and the United States—have informed the UN Secretary General that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, have no legal obligations arising from their former representatives' signature of the Statute.  United Nations member states have neither signed nor ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute; some of them, including China and India, are critical of the Court. On 21 January 2009, the Palestinian National Authority formally accepted the jurisdiction of the Court. On 3 April 2012, the ICC Prosecutor declared himself unable to determine that Palestine is a "state" for the purposes of the Rome Statute and referred such decision to the United Nations. The establishment of an international tribunal to judge political leaders accused of war crimes was first made during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 by the Commission of Responsibilities. The issue was addressed again at a conference held in Geneva under the auspices of the League of Nations on 1–16 November 1937, which resulted in the conclusion of the first convention stipulating the establishment of a permanent international court to try acts of international terrorism. The convention was signed by 13 governments, but was never ratified, and the convention never entered into effect.

The United Nations stated that the General Assembly first recognised the need for a permanent international court to deal with atrocities of the kind committed during World War II in 1948, following the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals.  At the request of the General Assembly, the International Law Commission drafted two statutes by the early 1950s but these were shelved as the Cold War made the establishment of an international criminal court politically unrealistic.

Benjamin B. Ferencz, an investigator of Nazi war crimes after World War II and the Chief Prosecutor for the United States Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, one of the twelve military trials held by the U.S. authorities at Nuremberg, later became a vocal advocate of the establishment of an international rule of law and of an International Criminal Court. In his first book published in 1975, entitled Defining International Aggression – The Search for World Peace, he argued for the establishment of such an international court.

The idea was revived in 1989 when A. N. R. Robinson, then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, proposed the creation of a permanent international court to deal with the illegal drug trade. While work began on a draft statute, the international community established ad hoc tribunals to try war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, established in 1994, further highlighting the need for a permanent international criminal court.

In June 1989, motivated in part by an effort to combat drug trafficking, Trinidad and Tobago resurrected a pre-existing proposal for the establishment of an ICC and the UN GA asked that the ILC resume its work on drafting a statute.  The conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia as well as in Rwanda in the early 1990s and the mass commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide led the UN Security Council to establish two separate temporary ad hoc tribunals to hold individuals accountable for these atrocities, further highlighting the need for a permanent international criminal court.

In 1994, the ILC presented its final draft statute for an ICC to the UN GA and recommended that a conference of plenipotentiaries be convened to negotiate a treaty and enact the Statute. To consider major substantive issues in the draft statute, the General Assembly established the Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, which met twice in 1995.

After considering the Committee's report, the UN GA created the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of the ICC to prepare a consolidated draft text. From 1996 to 1998, six sessions of the UN Preparatory Committee were held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, in which NGOs provided input into the discussions and attended meetings under the umbrella of the NGO Coalition for an ICC (CICC). In January 1998, the Bureau and coordinators of the Preparatory Committee convened for an Inter-Sessional meeting in Zutphen, the Netherlands to technically consolidate and restructure the draft articles into a draft.

The United States and Israel refuse to ratify, acknowledge or adhere to ICC.

Following years of negotiations, the General Assembly convened a conference in Rome in June 1998, with the aim of finalizing a treaty. On 17 July 1998, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted by a vote of 120 to 7, with 21 countries abstaining. The seven countries that voted against the treaty were China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar, United States, and Yemen.

The Rome Statute became a binding treaty on 11 April 2002, when the number of countries that had ratified it reached sixty. The Statute legally came into force on 1 July 2002, and the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed after that date. The first bench of 18 judges was elected by an Assembly of States Parties in February 2003. They were sworn in at the inaugural session of the Court on 11 March 2003. The Court issued its first arrest warrants on 8 July 2005and the first pre-trial hearings were held in 2006.

During a Review Conference of the International Criminal Court Statute in Kampala, Uganda, two amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court were adopted on 10 and 11 June 2010. The second amendment concerns the definition of the crime of aggression.

4.0.  Does the Imperialist USA See the ICC as its Tool?

The world’s most powerful and leading imperialist power is the United States of America. What is the relationship of the US to the International Criminal Court?

According to the American-based Global Policy Forum:

The United States government has consistently opposed an international court that could hold US military and political leaders to a uniform global standard of justice. The Clinton administration participated actively in negotiations towards the International Criminal Court treaty, seeking Security Council screening of cases. If adopted, this would have enabled the US to veto any dockets it opposed. When other countries refused to agree to such an unequal standard of justice, the US campaigned to weaken and undermine the court. The Bush administration, coming into office in 2001 as the Court neared implementation, adopted an extremely active opposition. Washington began to negotiate bilateral agreements with other countries, insuring immunity of US nationals from prosecution by the Court. As leverage, Washington threatened termination of economic aid, withdrawal of military assistance, and other painful measures. The Obama administration has so far made greater efforts to engage with the Court. It is participating with the Court's governing bodies and it is providing support for the Court's ongoing prosecutions. Washington, however, has no intention to join the ICC, due to its concern about possible charges against US nationals.
From the website of the Coalition for the ICC we read:

The United States voted ‘no’ to the Rome Statute during the Rome Conference in 1998 when its  demand that it maintain its Security Council veto on possible cases was not met. In an effort to maintain US influence in the drafting process and due to a deep-seated belief in the principles underlying the ICC, President Clinton signed the Rome Statute on December 31, 2000, on the last day that the Rome Statute was open for signature, demonstrating an ongoing policy of “constructive engagement.” After the Bush Administration entered office, on 6 May 2002, President Bush “suspended” the Clinton signature, demonstrating that the United States would no longer be involved in the ICC process and that it did not consider itself to hold any legal obligations under the treaty. Since then, the Bush Administration has undertaken a policy of “active opposition” to the Court through a global campaign to obtain immunity from ICC jurisdiction through a multi-pronged approach.  As part of its efforts, the Bush administration has been approaching countries around the world seeking to conclude Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs), purportedly based on Article 98 of the Rome Statute, excluding its citizens and military personnel from the jurisdiction of the Court. These agreements prohibit the surrender to the ICC of a broad scope of persons including current or former government officials, military personnel, and US employees (including contractors) and nationals. These agreements, which in some cases are reciprocal, do not include an obligation by the US to subject those persons to investigation and/or prosecution. Many governmental, legal and non-governmental experts have concluded that the bilateral agreements being sought by the US government are contrary to international law and the Rome Statute. Furthermore, the United States has gone so far as to suspend military assistance to those States Parties which do not sign these agreements, amounting to arm-twisting and bullying of economically vulnerable States that support the ICC. While 101 governments have reportedly signed BIAs, less than 40% of these agreements have been ratified by Parliament or signed as an executive agreement. In fact, many legal experts argue that the executive agreements are unconstitutional and require the approval of Parliament, and are thus not valid agreements. Furthermore, more than half of States Parties have resisted signing BIAs – despite large economic penalties imposed by the U.S. – and 53 countries continue to publicly refuse to sign. In addition, several intergovernmental bodies have publicly opposed these agreements and have encouraged other states to resist signing such agreements and continue to uphold the integrity of the Rome Statute. 

The United States passed the America Service Members Protection Act 2002 which deepened the US refusal to cooperate with the ICC and it gave  authority to the executive branch to "use all necessary means" to "free members of the armed forces of the United States 'detained' by the ICC."

This law was nicknamed  the“Hague Invasion Act” as you can see fromthis Human Rights Watch dispatch. Something that Messrs Museveni, Mugabe, Uhuru and Ruto should cheer heartily!

On June 29, 2005, The US House of Representatives passed legislation forbidding economic assistance grants to most governments party to the International Criminal Court which refuse to sign bilateral immunity agreements with the Unites States.

On August 26, 2003, The US refused to join a UN Security Council resolution protecting humanitarian aid
workers — even after the bombing in Baghdad that killed 22 UN workers — because it referred to the fact that the ICC has explicitly criminalized attacks against aid workers as war crimes. The version that passed (Resolution 1502) instead referred indirectly to "existing prohibitions under international law.”

On October 10, 2006, the US Congress amended the 2002 American Service Members Protection Act, which cut all foreign aid to countries that refused to grant immunity to US citizens from the International Criminal Court. Under the revised version, Washington re-established military aid to its Latin American and African allies, but kept the foreign aid restrictions. 

Earlier, on December  16, 2005, the United States government attempted to remove mention of the ICC from a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians in armed conflict.

In an April 2, 2010 column for the Washington Post, Stephen G. Rademaker, a former Assistant Secretary of State during the Bush administration argued that the International Criminal Court  should not expand its jurisdiction to include the "crime of aggression" at the Review Conference on the ICC Statute which will took place in May of the same year in Kampala, Uganda. He believed  it would be bad for the United States, as it would enable the Court to prosecute leaders of any country, including the United States, that commits aggression on the territory of a member state.

Way back on January 28, 2005 the United States did something which is almost identical to some of the current “anti-imperialist” positions of the AU. It proposed the establishment of an ad hoc war crimes tribunal in Tanzania to deal with allegations of genocide in Sudan where Washington intended for the African Union to play a key role in the court, which were designed to meet theUS  administration's twin goals of confronting atrocities in Sudan and shunning the International Criminal Court.

From the above, it is clear that the US opposition to the International Criminal Court has been MORE virulent, vigorous and  more sustained than any criticism of the Hague-based court from the AU. Should we then conclude from this hostility to the ICC that the United States has been MORE “anti-imperialist” than the AU?

5.0. The ICC is an AFRICAN Court

There are  34 African countries who are state parties to the Rome Statute. A total of  43 African countries are signatories. Egypt, which unbeknown to some people, is firmly part of the African continent, recently expressed interest in joining the International Criminal Court. Africa is well represented in the ICC’s staff. Out of a total of 658 permanent ICC staff, 144 are African nationals, representing 34 African nations. The Chief Prosecutor is Gambian jurist  

Fatou Bensouda.  Five of the court’s judges including Chile Osuji who is presiding over the Ruto case, are African. The first Vice President of the Court and the Deputy Registrar are Africans.

Most poignantly, most victims whose cases are before the ICC are African. More than 5 million African victims  have been displaced, more than 40,000 African victims killed, hundreds of thousands of African children transformed into killers and rapists and thousands of Africans-female and male- raped. 

Of the 8 African cases before the  ICC, four instances—in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central  African Republic and Mali were  referred by those very African countries. Lest we forget, here in Kenya,  Luis Moreno Ocampo was given evidence of the PEV atrocities by the government appointed Waki Commission. There was a chance to have these cases tried in Kenya, but we all remember the raucous chorus “ Don’t Be Vague, Let’s Go to the Hague!”

Ambassador Tina Intellman, the President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute remarked recently:

“My largest constituency is Africa and its state parties. I make every effort to liaise with them and be truly attentive to their concerns.”
This is what Ndungu Wainaina, Kenyan policy analyst and civil society commentator recently told those who called ICC  “an imperialist court”:
“If the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a colonial and imperialist court, then Amos Wako, Aaron Ringera, Francis Muthaura, Thuita Mwangi, Julius Sunkuli, among other key top  Kenya government officials who played a key role in 1998 (including Kenya holding Vice –Presidency at a certain stage) during Rome Statue negotiations are the real colonialists and imperialists.”

 There is an ongoing online debate  partly sponsored by the Office of the  ICC Prosecutor and UCLA School of Law titled, "Is the ICC Targeting Africa?" which is hosted at this site. Some of the interventions are fascinating.

6.0. Conclusion

There is no doubt that the relationship between Africa and the ICC is complex, contradictory and multi-faceted. While there are LEGITIMATE claims about the  double standards-for instance, it is a fact that Luis Moreno Ocampo declined to investigate situations in Iraq and elsewhere, it is  HYPOCRITICAL to come up with this blanket  charge of the ICC  being a so called "imperialist court".

If we take the perspective of the African victims, the issue suddenly gets another dimension. It is critical that one does not conflate the selfish myopic interests of African leaders for those of the millions of African masses. For instance in Kenya, in opinion poll after opinion poll, the citizens of Kenya have supported the ICC process to the hilt. By and large the victims and survivors of the  2007/2008 post election violence which gave rise to the current Hague trials featuring Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have NOT clamoured for those cases to be abandoned.

 Indeed, on October 30, 2013, the legal representative for the victims  referred to the attempts to seek a deferral "repugnant and odious"  as you can see from this news link:

 NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – The Legal Representative for Victims in the case against Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reject the President’s application for a stay of his trial.

Fergal Gaynor contends that the application is one of many stall tactics President Kenyatta has employed and would be, “repugnant and odious to the administration of justice,” should trial chamber V(b) allow it.

“The application is made in the context of a multi-faceted campaign by the accused, supported by his Government, to avoid trial,” Gaynor’s response reads.

He argues that President Kenyatta’s rallying of the African Union against the ICC and the subsequent petitioning of the United Nation’s Security Council for a deferral is proof of the defendant’s campaign to avoid trial.

“International efforts to support that campaign include an address by the accused on October 12, 2013, two days after the defence filed the application, in which he described the court to the African Union as “[a] painfully farcical pantomime” and as “the toy of declining imperial powers”. The accused also asserted that “we only get bias and race-hunting at the ICC,” Gaynor quoted.

The lawyer also argues that allowing a stay of President Kenyatta’s case in order to allow for a pre-trial evidentiary hearing could cause more prosecution witnesses to withhold their testimony.

“The risk of withdrawal of key witnesses is already serious. The Kenyan media has heavily publicised the withdrawal of prosecution witnesses in this case and in the Ruto and Sang case. The Ruto and Sang trial has also seen widely-publicised efforts to reveal the identity of a protected witness during the proceedings,” Gaynor reminded the chamber.

He also made the case that the credibility of the prosecution witnesses can be challenged during the trial process and witnesses OTP-118, OTP-11 and OTP-12 need not be subjected to a pre-trial evidentiary hearing.

“The risk that those would not return to testify if exposed to such an experience is considerable,” Gaynor argues.

More compellingly however, Gaynor makes the case that those he represents have waited for justice long enough and would suffer a grave injustice should President Kenyatta’s application be granted.

“The victims in Kenya see no sign of any genuine effort to prosecute before the Kenyan courts any of those responsible for the crimes committed against them. Rather, they see the accused and his Government making an enormous effort at the highest international levels to bring the present trial – which is their only hope of justice – to an end. To grant the application would truly be “repugnant and odious to the administration of justice,” Gaynor concludes.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's anti-West rhetoric was cooked up in the UK by some White cooks with  neo-conservative Tory links as you can see in the passage below:
BRITISH Public Relations firm BTP was contracted by Uhuru Kenyatta to manage Jubilee campaigns.
This firm developed the Anti-ICC and Anti-western strategies which Uhuru used to project the ICC and most western countries as ‘interfering’ with Kenya’s domestic affairs. This firm used media connections and ‘international contacts’ to market Uhuru as a victim of politically instigated fabrications by his Main Challenger, Raila Odinga.
Here was a man whose campaign was based on anti-West sentiments, yet employed propaganda minted by a western (European) PR firm to ascend to power.
For close to a year, Uhuru readily used the services offered by the West. It was all politics. All PR spin. . .and it worked.
Here is the list of BTP operatives which surrounded Uhuru even as he unashamedly lectured off the West and created a siege mentality among his followers:
1. Mark Pursey-Briton, Head of BTP Kenyan operations.
2. Charles Anglin-Advisor(Briton)
3. Simon Waddington-Strategist(Briton)
4. Milan Starcevic-Strategist(Briton)
5. Charlie Tarr-Strategist(Briton)
6. Anuuret Rai- Strategist (Briton)
This team was assisted by local representative Nana Gecaga and TNA media pointman Moses Kuria.
Another Uhuru lawyer Stephen Kay, another Briton; and Ed Staite, former advisor to British Chancellor of Exchequer, also a Briton joined this long list of expatriates working for Uhuru.
 SOURCE: Kenya Today

David Hoile is the author of a book slamming ICC as "Africa's Guantanamo Bay".

What he does NOT disclose is that he is  a paid lobbyist for ICC fugitive Omar  al Bashir of  Sudan.

Here is a snippet of an expose:
David Hoile is an apologist for the Sudanese Islamist regime. He works for the European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council. The British ‘professor’ is noted for his defence of Khartoum actions in Darfur. In particular he stands up for the President Omar Al-Bashir  (critique of his views here). At present he is active in  opposing charges levelled against the dictator by the International Criminal Court. 

Hoile’s  identification with Islamism goes further. He states that (here), “The fact is that within the Arab and Islamic world Sudan has led the way with regard to women’s social, political and economic rights.” Not surprisingly he has attracted the admiration of Respect Party notable, Yvonne Ridely (here).

In Le Monde (29.9.10) it is revealed that he attended the Geneva building of the  ”conseil des droits de l’homme’ (human rights council) on the 16th of September. He claimed to represent an independent NGO under the name of ‘David Howil’.  At a meeting of the Hawa Society for Woman,  a ‘GONGO’ (Government Operated non-Governmental Organisation), he  attacked the International Court, calling it a “  European Guantanamo”. ‘Howil’ , defending Sudan against “propaganda” saw “positive developments” in its human rights record.

In the 1980s Hoile was one of the leaders of the Federation of Conservative Students. He backed the Contras in Nicaragua, UNITA in Angola, and attacked the ANC. He is worse a badge saying “Hang Nelson Mandela”. Hoile equally enthused over Remano, the anti-Frelimo guerilla movement in Mozambique, financed by the South African apartheid regime.

More background here.

Funny that Tory racists should admire brutal Sudanese Islamism so much.

Or perhaps the racists and misogynists of  Khartoum really are defenders of human rights.

Here is how Hoile the so called "friend" of Sudan and Kenya-I debated and exposed him right here in  Nairobi at the Hilton Hotel last year during a public forum on the  ICC organized by Okoiti Omtatah but bankrolled by some shady forces- referred to the world's MOST RESPECTED STATESMAN.  Go to this link and see how David Hoile regarded Nelson Mandela not too long ago.

The International Criminal Court in my opinion, is an arena of contest between various forces but primarily pitting those who are committed to social justice, democracy, peace and human rights on the one hand and those who perpetrate violence and support impunity on the other hand.

The whole thing about the ICC being "an imperialist court" is a chimera; a bogey man; a red herring.

Talking of the chief Kenyan suspects let me point out two things:

1. President Uhuru Kenyatta's  cabinet is a pro-imperialist, pro-West, pro-IMF, pro-World Bank and pro-Washington Consensus cabinet as I pointed out in this very lengthy essay several months ago.

2. During the 2010 Referendum on the Constitution, William Ruto was at the forefront of those OPPOSING this progressive, democratic document. His extremely conservative religious beliefs resonated very much with the  far right Tea Party lunatic  fringe of the US Republican party.

By the way, do you KNOW who was one of the most ARTICULATE  and VOCAL proponents of the Hague option a couple of years ago?

Load the following video link to your browser:

Those are hardly the credentials of certified and genuine African anti-imperialist crusaders.

And talking of imperialism. neo-colonilaism and Africa, I found this South African intervention by  

Andile Lungila, the former Deputy President of the ANC Youth League writing in Issue 183 of the African Communist (January 2011)  intriguing:

21st Century Imperialists and Neo-Colonialists

China’s Export Import Bank, Exim, pledged finance for major road and rail construction projects and for the rehabilitation of its mining sector, badly damaged by years of war, corruption and neglect. China has reportedly already dispatched 5 000 containers of mining equipment to renovate mines involved in Katanga province. DRC Planning Minister Oliver Kamatu has said $3-billion will go towards bringing mining back into operation and $6-billion will be spent on infrastructure projects. China’s Sinohydro Corporation and China Railway Engineering Corporation have negotiated a deal giving them a 68% share in a joint venture, with 32% going to state copper mining company Gecamines.  Chinese state companies have been granted rights to two large copper and cobalt concessions representing around 10,62-million tons of copper and 620 000 tons of cobalt. The DRC produced 500 000 tons of copper annually in 1989 at its highest levels of output.

The new infrastructure proposed will consist of 3 300km of road and 3 000km of railway. Mineral-rich Katanga will be connected by rail to the port of Matadi in the west and by road to Kisangani on the Congo River. Transport links to Zambia in the south will also be improved.

Two hydro-electric dams are proposed to facilitate mineral exploitation and export energy to take advantage of power-starved Africa, particularly Southern Africa. Most of the infrastructure construction will be carried out by Chinese companies and labour with very little benefit to the Congolese workforce or to the wider economy. DRC Infrastructure Minister Pierre Lumbi reported to the DRC parliament that the deal included the construction of several hundred clinics, hospitals and schools, but this contribution is small for a country the size of Western Europe.

As with previous sell-offs of mineral rights in the Congo, the value of the concessions to China cannot be easily quantified. No tender process is in place to assess the assets. But Congo businessmen speculate that China will reap at least $30-billion in profits.

The privatisation programme in the DRC, implemented by the Washington dominated International Monetary Fund and World Bank after the end of the war in 2003, opened the door for dividing up the nationalised mining industry.

Contracts were drafted that gave mining concessions away for as little as $15-million when resources were valued at $60-billion.

China’s increased role in DRC has displaced the former colonial power Belgium, which has become highly critical of President Joseph Kabila’s government.

Kabila has forced the Belgian government to close its consulates in Bukavu, withdrew DRC’s Ambassador to Brussels and closed the consulate in Antwerp earlier this year. The Belgium diamond industry is said to be horrified by the move.

The other protagonist in the ‘Great Game’ is the USA. The value of Obama’s family background was recognised early in his bid for the presidency of the United States by Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter and a key figure in the formulation of Obama’s foreign policy. In August 2007, Brzezinski declared that Obama “recognises that the challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new definition of America’s role in the world”. Brzezinski was among major figures in the US foreign policy establishment who saw in Obama a means of giving the USA a “new face” to the rest of the world, something they deemed critical after the blunders and setbacks to American imperialism under Bush. Obama lived up to expectations in Ghana. He played on his African ancestry, just as he had emphasised his Muslim heritage the previous month in Cairo. The image of the two Obama children walking out into the sunlight from the “door of no return” at Cape Coast Castle, from which so many Africans did not return, was a skilfully exploited photo opportunity. Leaving this scene of so much human suffering, Obama said:

“It reminds us that as bad as history can be, it’s always possible to overcome.”

This was meant to imply that no matter what Africa has suffered in the past, and no matter what the continent continues to suffer at the hands of the banks, corporations and Western governments, the responsibility and the fault rests with the African people themselves.

Obama brought an uncompromising message, spelling out in a more open way than George Bush dared to do during his visit to Ghana in 2008, that aid would be made available only in return for the implementation of policies that serve the interests of the US government and corporations and that there would be less of it in future.

“Development,” Obama told parliamentarians, “depends upon good governance. That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That is the change that can unlock Africa’s potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.”
But the lecture also carried a threat:

“We have a responsibility to support those who act responsibly and to isolate those who don’t, and that is exactly what America will do,” Obama declared.

It was a message no pink-faced Western leader could have delivered without arousing resentment in Africa. The provision of aid has always been a political mechanism to force former colonial countries to pursue policies that serve the interests of the imperialist donors.

But whereas Bush was obliged to make some token gestures, such as setting up the Millennium Challenge Account and increasing funding for Aids and malaria, Obama used the kudos he derived from his ancestry to point-blank insist that African governments toe the US line.

Obama’s insistence that Ghana and other African governments achieve “good governance” is a demand for more of the free-market measures that are already being imposed with disastrous results for the social conditions of the population. “Good governance” means privatising essential services such as telecommunications, water and power, as well as social services like health and education. It also means removing subsidies from small farmers and abolishing import controls.

Ghana has gone a long way down that route, which is why it has been favoured with visits from two successive US presidents. It is far from being one of Africa’s poorest countries, but 70% of the population in its northern regions live on less than a dollar a day. Life expectancy is only 58 years. Women often have to walk more than 3km to find water, and it is seldom clean. This situation is set to worsen dramatically. The global recession has hit Africa hard. Ghana was among those countries granted debt relief in 2005, but with the value of its currency falling, it is rapidly sliding into debt once more. The government’s response has been to impose an austerity budget in an attempt to balance the books.

Obama has shifted the emphasis of the “war on terror” from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But the place of Africa in US global strategy remains essentially the same. First, it is a vital source of strategic resources such as oil and gas, but also of many key minerals. Second, a high proportion of the world’s shipping lanes run close to Africa’s shores.

It follows that any American administration must make the establishment of US domination of Africa a priority.

What was not mentioned on Obama’s Africa trip was the new US military command for Africa, Africom, established under the Bush administration. Previously US military operations in Africa were divided between the Middle East and the European commands. The decision to establish a separate African command represented an intensification of US strategic interest in Africa. Currently, Africom’s headquarters are in Germany.

The intention is to find a base on the African continent, but the Bush administration could not persuade any African country to offer facilities. Obama could not raise such a politically sensitive issue publicly. In conjunction with his visit, however, Africom was carrying out a programme of activities, including the visit of the guided missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and a seminar on “health and security” in Lusaka, Zambia.

This militarisation of US foreign policy in Africa reflects America’s inability to deal by economic means alone with the growing rivalry it faces. China has just surpassed the US to become Africa’s main trading partner. America’s trade with Africa was worth $104-billion in 2008, a 28% increase, but China’s trade with Africa was worth $107-billion, a tenfold increase over the last decade.

In conclusion, I would like to discuss the relationship between China and the US. China officially ended its decadelong yuan-dollar peg in 2005, due to pressure from the Bush administration for more “flexible” exchange rates, but continued to maintain tight control over the currency to keep Chinese exports competitive. At the same time, the yuan’s gradual revaluation of 20% over the past three years generated enormous pressure on Chinese exporters, even before the collapse of the foreign orders in recent months. Amid escalating job losses and the prospect of social unrest, there are mounting calls within China for the government to devalue the yuan. By last November, 20-million rural migrant workers in China had already lost jobs, with new estimates pointing to 40-50-million more in early 2010. These figures do not include millions of unemployed urban workers. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao blamed the US for “excessive expansion of financial institutions in blind pursuit of profit” and “lack of self-discipline among financial institutions and rating agencies” for the present global economic crisis. While not naming the Obama administration, Wen declared: “Protectionism serves no purpose except to worsen and prolong the crisis”. The US-China tensions have raised fears that Beijing could dump its US assets of more than $1-trillion, precipitating a devastating collapse of the dollar. It could provoke China into a sudden  dramatic reconsideration and readjustment of its exchange rate and foreign reserves management, up to and including its willingness to hold US sovereign bonds. It must be remembered that the dollar-yuan link, established in 1994, allowed a real price system to arise in China and created a single economic fabric stretching across the Pacific. Before long, the whole region had adopted what has come to be known as the East Asian Dollar Standard. A significant proportion of Chinese goods are manufactured on behalf of US corporations, boosting their profit rates and temporarily sustaining the consumption of Americans despite the stagnation and, in many instances, decline in real wages. More importantly, China’s expanding trade surpluses became a major source for buying US Treasury bonds, helping finance the US trade and balance of payment deficits. China and Japan alone hold a quarter of the $5,8-trillion outstanding US government debt. The flow of cheap credit and low-price goods from Asia helped the US Federal Reserve Board maintain a low interest rate policy, thus providing the basis for Wall Street to create ever bigger debt and credit bubbles and creating an expanding market for industries in China, including those owned by US firms.

The US and China are playing the ‘Great Game’ in the same manner that former imperial powers Tsarist Russia and Great Britain played in an earlier historic epoch. The US strategy is to keep China off balance and to preserve the ever-growing mass of dollars from deflation and displacement. The US must necessarily “ride the tiger” of China’s rise; of China’s holdings of $2-trillion in dollar reserves and corporate bonds; and of China’s growing involvement in Africa for natural resources. In doing so it hopes either to cement China’s involvement in the international status quo that will continue to subsidise America’s relentless economic decline in coming decades or, failing that, to exploit the social fissures in Chinese society and have an opportunity to have a client regime in China. China’s strategy is to exploit the blunders and arrogance of past and present US administrations, and employ its relatively strong economic position to strengthen its geo-political position, and thus accelerate the US’s already diminishing hegemony.
There is an African idiom that asserts that “when two elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers”. In this instance it would appear that Africa will be the grass to suffer in the ‘Great Game’ of imperialists!

Cde Lungisa was the ANC Youth League Deputy President; Pan African Youth Union ; Vice President and Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency

Onyango Oloo
Nairobi, Kenya
1:18 am
Thursday, October 31, 2013