Raila disowns VP's diplomatic offensive over ICC
Posted Wednesday, January 26 2011 at 15:24
Prime Minister Raila Odinga Wednesday disowned the shuttle diplomacy spearheaded by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to seek the support of African Union to defer Kenya’s case at the International Criminal Court.
Mr Odinga at a news conference in Nairobi said what Cabinet had agreed on was the referral of the cases involving the masterminds of the post election violence suspects to the International Criminal Court and not to defer them.
“What we agreed on was referral and not deferral (of the cases involving the post election violence suspects),” said Mr Odinga adding “I can tell you that we never talked about the issue of shuttle diplomacy.”
He went on; “How does the African Union help Kenya yet we are already a signatory of the Rome Statute? If we want to move away from the Rome Statute, which I don’t support we would rather deal directly with the ICC.”
His statements contradicted that of Mr Musyoka who at a separate news conference earlier on, said the issue to defer the cases had the blessings of none other that President Kibaki.
Mr Musyoka said he was following President Kibaki’s directive, as his special envoy, in sending special messages to his African counterparts ahead of the AU summit scheduled for Addis Ababa next week.
“I am not on a personal mission,” said the VP who left the country on Wednesday evening in yet another diplomatic offensive to Libya to solicit the support of President Muamnar Gaddafi on Kenya’s position.
He went on; “I am going on a special mission as the special envoy of the President of the Republic of Kenya. Therefore anyone thinking the Vice President is going on his own volition needs to be thus directed.”
“If you talk about the President, this supersedes all the others... If you take the view that the President is the head of government and the head of State and he chooses to dispatch the his Vice President and Cabinet ministers, his intentions do not normally get questioned.
ICC Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo recently named Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, his Tinderet counterpart Henry Kosgey, head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, Postmaster General Hussein Ali and Journalist Joshua Sang as those bearing the greatest responsibility for the post election violence.
On Wednesday, Mr Musyoka explained that it was President Kibaki’s wish that they make the trips to brief his colleagues in the continent on the situation.
“The President did not want to ambush any of his colleagues at the AU summit that takes place later this month, “ he said.
Mr Musyoka has already been to a number of African countries including South Africa, Malawi, Ethiopia, Nigeria among others, to explain Kenya’s position.
Others who had been tasked to reach out to African presidents were ministers Chirau Ali Mwakwere who has visited Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, while Njeru Githae visited Djibouti, Tanzania among others.
Mr Musyoka at the news conference said even though the matter had been discussed and passed by the Cabinet committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, chaired by the President and which the Prime Minister is also a member, he however admitted the consultations were not done fully. He dispelled rumours that his mission to the African Union states was not to try and convince them to walk out of the Rome Statute en-masse.
“All we are trying to do is to continue the efforts in Parliament where we tried to establish a local tribunal but failed,” he said.
“We are acting in good faith. No one should doubt this.”