With DP Ruto and Arap sang off the hook, finally, all Kenyans who were accused of crimes against humanity in the 2007/08 PEV have been acquitted. I am not here to spoil anyone’s party but, if I may ask,
are the victims supposed to celebrate with the rest of Kenyans that finally nobody was found culpable for the 2007/08 mayhem?
We all saw it coming, but I don’t understand why it took so long. It obviously couldn’t make sense to lock up two individuals from one community, when we know that the perpetrators were more than that. Such an eventuality could only create more bad blood and, probably, even more violence. Hence, this is the only reason why I am happy about yesterday’s verdict.
So now, should we say that 2007/08 PEV was a stage-managed Kenyan horror movie that was never real? That the 1300 dead Kenyans were just but an imaginary figure? That 600,000 people who were reportedly displaced from their homes only existed as characters in an unpopular Kenyan myth?
From whichever angle you look at it, ICC and the Kenyan gov’t seemingly conspired to deny the poor victims of the 2007/08 PEV any form of justice. Back home, not even a feeble attempt was made, by the gov’t, to bring culprits to book, while ICC embarked on a wild goose chase.
The example that former ICC prosecutor, Moreno Ocampo, promised to make out of the Kenyan case turns out to be another classic rendition of, “how not handle Post-Election-Violence cases.”
By doing shoddy investigations right from the start, the ICC set the stage for denying victims any form of justice and, worse still, gave them false hope. One thing that Kenyans must agree on now is that, ICC should keep off Kenyan affairs henceforth. One might be tempted to ask, is this a modern day Kangaroo court, just like its fiercest antagonists have been claiming?
Obviously, this was as much a verdict on the clout of the court itself, just like it was for the culpability of the “Ocampo six.” The court has performed extremely below expectations as far as the Kenyan cases are concerned. Its credibility, at the moment, is in total jeopardy. Whether it will be able to redeem its image after this debacle, the jury is still out there.
However, I am afraid that, with the ICC out of the picture, having proved that it is indeed a toothless bulldog, now the merchants of violence, who seem untouchable in Kenya, have nobody to fear and I don’t see anything that will deter them from repeating the 2007/08 madness or even doing worse things in future. Once you shed blood and get away with it, doing it again will be no big deal.
Complete healing and reconciliation will demand that the Kenyan authorities come up with a homegrown solution of ensuring that justice is served to the victims. This will be to the best interests of all of us and a sure way to discourage similar occurrences in future. The mothers and young children who were burnt alive in some church in Kiambaa couldn’t have rounded themselves up, locked themselves in the church and set it ablaze!
It is now about 8 years down the line and we all know that justice delayed is justice denied. The chorus of “forgive, forget and move on” might work well with the top leaders, but it can only work better for the victims, if it is accompanied by some semblance of justice, just like the “Gacaca courts” did in Rwanda. This is the only way we can bring total closure to the nightmares of those who bore the brunt of the 2007/08 Post Election Violence.
The writer is a website content developer/copywriter/copy editor and SEO expert.
A global citizen who believes in human justice and dignity, Gilbert Kenya is also currently a student of Political Science, Psychology & Communication at The University of Nairobi.
An Aficionado of Local & Global Politics, alongside diverse genres of literature, he is fully persuaded that there is always enough to go round for all of us.
Gilbert writes for a living, but above all, lives and breathes writing. His favourite maxim is: "LIVE AND LET LIVE. While at it laugh and love more; you are not here forever!
When not writing, you will find Gilbert Kenya living happily with his lovely wife Betty and their two little angels, Ray and Ivy, in the great "City in the Sun" - Nairobi.
WELCOME ABOARD. Te Amo mucho!