Friday, March 6, 2009

Hague, Local Tribunal; Why Bother?

By Lukoye Atwoli
Edited Version published Sunday Nation 01 March 2009, Page 22

MANY POLITICIANS have recently come out and asked Mr Kofi Annan to dispatch the secret list from the report to the Hague tout suite. Their opinion probably represents that of most of their colleagues both in cabinet and in parliament, going by the rejection of the Bill establishing a local tribunal.
This issue leaves Kenyans in some sort of catch-22 situation, for even if by some miracle the government manages to resurrect the Tribunal Bill and bulldozes it through parliament to produce the institution suggested by Justice Waki and his team, justice will neither be delivered nor seen to be done.
Indeed even if Mr Annan follows the advice of the politicians and takes the ‘envelope’ to the Hague, justice will still not be done or seen to be done. Kenyans have created a nebulous web of complexity around an issue that seemed very simple one year ago- the pursuit of truth and justice to enable us to move forward as a nation.
We have managed to ethnicise the atrocities, and have even been promised fire and brimstone should there be a process that suggests that ‘one side’ was more culpable than the other. As we mark one year since the official cessation of hostilities at the end of February last year, we have reached yet another fork in our national moral journey, where we are obliged to make one decision or the other, and both do not look particularly promising.
Every nation in its history comes to this point at which the instruments of governance must be put under the microscope to determine whether they are serving the purposes for which they were set up or not. Kenya arrived at this juncture last year, and we are still grappling with the aftermath of our indecision after discovering that most state institutions are rotten to the core, and serve only the interests of a tiny cabal with their fingers in every pie.
Last year we discovered that we do not trust the judiciary to do the right thing. The main reason was that it was peopled by agents of the ‘executive’, and would therefore only do the bidding of its masters.
For a long time, we suspected that we could not trust our political or religious leaders to do the right thing when disaster beckoned. This was proven beyond any doubt last year when the country was in its direst need for leadership.
We also discovered that the management of our electoral system was wanting, and we moved with some haste to disband the body mandated with running our elections. Unfortunately, the process of replacing the body is wrought with the same malodorous practices that brought the discredited ECK into being.
Cronyism, ‘ethnic balance’ and partisanship seem to have been written into the very rules creating the new body, and there is no doubt in the mind of the sane Kenyan that the IIEC will be the same, or even worse, than its predecessor.
This duplicitous debate must now be brought to a close without further delay, as it is proving to be just as unproductive as it is circuitous. Kenyans must turn away from this false dichotomy of ‘Local Tribunal or the Hague’ and re-examine what it is they really want out of the leadership of this country. Listening to the politicians perpetuate this circus while we starve and ail will not get us anywhere.
It is time to stop the charades, and take drastic action to re-engineer the state. Let the international community busy itself with the so-called big fish at the Hague, while those of us who still believe in the beauty of our dream of a better Kenya set upon the task of making this dream a reality.
Let every Kenyan who is tired of the politics of ethnicity and war-mongering stand up to be counted. This is the time to speak out in any forum one is given, to send out a clear message to the political class: Enough is enough.
Individual politicians must speak for themselves, and stop this nonsense of ‘community spokesman’ that puts the lives of so many at the mercy of an individual’s whims. Kenyans should demonstrate that they learnt something from the debacle that was the last general election by refusing to be led like sheep to the slaughter.
Above all, we must begin holding our politicians to account, for instance by ensuring that all public rallies, funerals and weddings attended by them begin with a dressing down on account of their continued refusal to pay taxes and their perpetuation of the politics of hate and violence.
This may yet mark the beginning of the rebirth of the new Kenyan nation.

1 comment:

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