Kenya; the meek and the mighty alike

"These are young lovely people I personally knew and loved," said Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, upon the death of his nephew and nephew’s fiancée in the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall this weekend just ended. Other members of Kenyatta’s family are also thought to have been caught in the attack.

Kenyatta and his Vice-President William Ruto currently stand accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of engineering the deaths of 1,200 people in violence following the Kenyan 2007 elections. Ruto has been excused from court in The Hague to attend to the aftermath of the attacks.

Kenyatta, in the same statement promised retribution against the attackers as the siege continued.

Will the events of these past few days affect the Kenyan parliament’s decision to leave the ICC? A decision made in early September swiftly following Ruto and Kenyatta’s taking up office.


However, it would intriguing to know if President Kenyatta sees the events of the post-election period from a new perspective now that he’s lost family in an act of orchestrated terrorist violence.

A crucial difference of course is that Kenyatta has the resources of one of Africa’s largest economies at his disposal - he is a president, he is wealthy and he has the power to influence and coerce a response, legal or otherwise.

The bereaved of those whose deaths he is charged with have no such resources and that is why the ICC’s actions are necessary. Kenya itself has failed to prosecute the instigators of the violence and with the primary culprits now running its government it unlikely that it ever will.

While many Africans cheered Kenya’s decision to leave the ICC they forgot that the issue at hand is not national integrity, African pride or racism, rather it is justice for those who have no other means to obtain it.

The people that died over this weekend and those who lost their lives in 2007 and 2008 all were people who were known and loved by someone. Whether death came in a lowly village or in a marble clad shopping mall the tenets of social justice demand that the victims and the bereaved are all equally entitled to a just and fair legal response.

Photograph: St Aloysius Gonzaga High School Journalism Club, Nairobi

1 comment:

Daniel said...

thx i like the post