Kosgey: My ICC nightmare
Posted Saturday, August 4 2012 at 23:30
- ODM chairman breaks his silence on the most traumatic chapter of his life
Palpable anxiety. These two words do not even come close to accurately describe the public mood in Kenya on Wednesday, December 15, 2010.
The country had been kept waiting, and people’s patience was stretched to the limits.
“D-Day for Ocampo Six,” said a newspaper headline.
Two days earlier, President Kibaki had convened a special Cabinet meeting and secured a resolution requiring the government to set up a local court to try people suspected of having sponsored the post-election violence of 2007 and 2008.
On this day, Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, then chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), was set to name six individuals suspected to bear the greatest responsibility for the violence.
So much anxiety
Mr Henry Kiprono Kosgey had some business in town. “There was so much anxiety in the air,” recalls the Tinderet MP.
“The media did not help. Many TV stations were live, ready to make the announcement. It heightened the anticipation,” he says. In the midst of this anxiety, Mr Kosgey decided to return home and wait for the announcement.
In a conversation with the Sunday Nation, he broke his silence over the ICC matter, and for the first time, took us through the emotions of what he calls the most “traumatising and difficult” experience.
“I went back home at about 11.30 a.m. and sat with my wife and children around a television set. I was extremely shocked to hear my name. It was a very tense moment,” he says, with strong breaks between his sentences.
The suspended Industrialisation minister could not reconcile himself to the announcement. In one moment the world around him had changed. “It came as a great shock to me because I knew I had not participated in the violence. I had just been sitting there unaware that somebody had implicated me. It was traumatising.”
Others mentioned were Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Francis Muthaura, Hussein Ali and Joshua arap Sang. The six thus faced crimes against humanity charges at The Hague-based court.
Apparently, Mr Moreno-Ocampo had informed President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of the six names well ahead of the dramatic announcement, but they did not inform the men themselves. But, somehow, the disturbing information found its way to the suspects. This, he reckons, informed the special Cabinet meeting that pushed for a local court.
“We had caught wind of it. I think the two principals had been informed, and it leaked to us,” said the Orange Democratic Movement chairman.
So Mr Kosgey was at home to confirm whether it was indeed true that his name was on the Ocampo List.
Four issues tortured him. There was the prospect of being arrested and hauled off to be prosecuted in a foreign land, the magnitude of the charges which included mass murder, the reaction of Kenyans and how to explain the turn of events to his family.
But he had been confident he would not be on the list because no one had contacted him as part of the initial investigations.
“There were no investigations and nobody had approached me over the matter. I knew that they would have talked to me if they had any adverse information on me.”