The African Union has asked President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto not to attend ICC. It has also resolved that sitting African leaders will defy ICC. But thanks to wise counsel, Ruto has gone back to The Hague for his trial.
Sadly, AU defiance of ICC is not based on a guarantee of justice for all victims and accused, but complaint of its humiliation and stigmatisation by ICC.
In the hierarchy of courts, God’s tribunal is first. When Presidents are accused before Him, He does not exempt them from trial or wait for them to leave office. He swiftly releases the innocent and dispatches the guilty to hell.
So, will President Uhuru go to The Hague for trial?
It all depends on whether Uhuru will listen to advocates of truth and justice or favour-seeking sycophants, hate-mongering ethnic bigots, lawyers for hire, mercenary church leaders, confusion-sowing propagandists and ignorant masses.
What Uhuru now needs is not lies, sycophancy and hero-worship. He needs to stop digging the hole he is in. He also needs to stop fighting for African leaders and fight his own battles. He needs to trust less, leaders who abandoned Muammar Gaddafi in the hour of need.
After getting rid of unnecessary baggage, Uhuru should go to ICC to clear his name. But if he continues to fight ICC and finally abscond from trial, he will be assumed to be guilty-as-charged.
President Uhuru must also go to ICC, because he chose to go to The Hague after rejecting a local tribunal. To now reject ICC is to reject rule of law altogether. And while ICC will be Uhuru’s life line to innocence, rejecting the court will make him a rogue, criminal and fugitive president, and Kenya a rogue state.
Were Uhuru to boycott ICC on AU advice that no sitting president should be hurled before ICC, he would be committing legal, political and moral suicide. And if ICC cannot try African presidents, it will be a court for the powerless like Joshua arap Sang, a sitting president perpetrating genocide will be unstoppable and to avoid trial, a sitting president will only need to be a president for life.
When Uhuru sought the presidency as an accused person, he promised the trial would be a personal challenge that would not interfere with his presidential duties. When he now asks not to attend court because the attendance will interfere with his presidential duties, he is like the boy in the Greek mythology that killed his father and mother and then asked for mercy because he was an orphan.
Despite claims that ICC is a political court, Uhuru should go to The Hague. Political crimes are tried by political courts over which political leaders have no power. That political courts like the Nuremberg Tribunal, that prosecuted Adolf Hitler’s killers, are political does not make them unfair.
Nor is ICC an instrument of imperialism merely because it is prosecuting African dictators. ICC was designed to rescue people from tyranny of whatever colour. Unfortunately, African leaders who signed the Rome Statute have become dictators and now see ICC as their enemy.
It is also untrue that because ICC is prosecuting more leaders from Africa than elsewhere, the court is anti-African. If more African leaders qualify for ICC, it is because they perpetrate crimes against humanity and are more difficult to prosecute or remove. Japanese or Italian Prime Ministers don’t qualify for ICC because they are easy to change and prosecute.
President Uhuru should also go to ICC because he has promised to cooperate with the court. If man best rules with law and example, Uhuru must keep his word by going to ICC. The least a leader can be is trustworthy.
Uhuru is asking to be excused from The Hague because Kenya is under threat from terrorism of al Shabaab. But if terrorism can excuse an accused president from trial, why should it not excuse him from conviction? Why then should a leader want to eradicate terrorism when it is so beneficial?
Some even say Uhuru won elections, he should not attend ICC. But to demand immunity from law for winning elections is arrogance. Indeed, for a leader not to subject one-self to law is hubris and the greater the hubris, the heavier will be God’s vengeance.
Uhuru should go to The Hague to avoid being a fugitive whose total attention will be personal survival and not serving Kenya. If Uhuru and his deputy are turning everything they do today into a campaign against ICC, how much more will they be obsessed with personal survival when they will be fugitives, fending off economic sanctions and diplomatic battles?
Not long ago, a priest asked his congregation to allow back members of another community they had evicted from their farms which have lied fallow for the last five years since post election violence. In disagreement, all the faithful left the church one by one until the priest was left alone, proof that reconciliation between Kalenjins and Kikuyus is still elusive and cannot be a reason to abandon ICC.
We cannot even say honestly that our courts have reformed enough to prosecute ethnic warlords on the loose.
President Uhuru should learn from his father President Kenyatta. He did not run away when colonial police came to arrest him. To him, facing unjust colonial courts served the cause of African independence better than being a fugitive from unjust colonial laws. When I was to be detained without trial or jailed by unjust courts I did not run either. I faced the law.
Finally, President Uhuru should attend ICC because neither the constitution nor the laws of God immunise him against justice.