Why the President has sunk the Ocampo Four
Posted Saturday, April 7 2012 at 19:00
- His every move on the ICC has been strange and wrong, and only a miracle can save the suspects from court
President Kibaki’s closest advisers – and I don’t know who they are – must be light weights. If I was him, I would sack them pronto. They have misled him on every key decision concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC).
That’s why the Ocampo Four – Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura, and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang – are probably doomed.
President Kibaki’s decisions on the ICC have been strange and counter-intuitive. Every step he’s taken has sunk the Ocampo Four deeper into the ICC’s “abyss”.
He’s shot them – and himself – in the foot every single time. It’s sound advice to stop digging when in a hole. But Mr Kibaki – and the Ocampo Four – have done the exact opposite.
I don’t know whether President Kibaki makes his own decisions, or someone makes them for him. Most heads of state rely on a highly competent phalanx of advisers who act as “honest brokers” of information.
The commander-in-chief usually listens to competing views and then decides. Normally, the “decider” acts to protect or foster an interest, not dig a hole for himself, or his allies.
Yet President Kibaki’s decisions on the ICC have defied this common wisdom. Which begs the question – why, in the name of Ngai, the African (Kikuyu and Kamba) god, has the President jettisoned logic?
I assume President Kibaki – and his wing of the coalition – had one simple objective. That was to save the Ocampo Six – now Ocampo Four – from the ICC.
The matter required simple, uncomplicated execution. At the core was whether the state was able – and willing – to investigate and prosecute suspects of the 2008 post-election mayhem. The ICC is a “complementary” court, and only acts when states fail to do so. The matter couldn’t be more straight-forward.
But the President couldn’t, or wouldn’t, prevail on his allies to establish a local tribunal. It was that fatal mistake which opened the door for the ICC. Remember the chant, “Let’s not be vague, let’s go to The Hague”. This was titanic.
Some of the Ocampo Six rejected the local tribunal and chose The Hague.
Their calculation was that the ICC was an impotent, remote tribunal that would never nab them. They were tragically mistaken. By this action, the Kibaki administration handed ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo his “biggest catch” to date.
Astute observers of the ICC knew that Mr Moreno-Ocampo would “move in for the kill”.
He acted with the precision and speed of a “master assassin”. Mr Moreno-Ocampo “fast-tracked” the Kenyan cases. President Kibaki and his allies – including the Ocampo Six – were caught completely flat-footed.
They’ve never recovered. It’s been tragic to see them stagger like punch-drunk fighters. They have no idea where Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s next blow will come from.
I am sure the ICC views every step taken by the Kibaki government as hostile and meant to sabotage the court. This only served to stiffen the ICC’s resolve against the Ocampo Six. The first was the ridiculous idea of “shuttle diplomacy” by VP Kalonzo Musyoka as President Kibaki’s envoy.
This was meant to rally Africa and the UN to “force” the ICC to drop the Kenyan cases. But the prerequisite for such an action would have been credible investigations and prosecutions in Kenya.
Strangely, the President did nothing to even pretend that local trials were possible. That is why Kalonzo’s ill-conceived errand came to an ignominious end. Then Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto ratcheted up their attacks on the ICC.