Whenever nations have plunged into real trouble – tyranny, genocides and holocausts – it was never without warning. Lucky ones heed the warning and avoid danger. The foolhardy ignore signs of danger and plunge into hell.
The proposal by Attorney General Githu Muigai let the cat out of the bag. Kenya’s proposed amendment to the Rome Statute putting African presidents above the law and beyond prosecution by ICC – even when perpetrating dictatorship, genocide and crimes against humanity – now make it clear. Kenyans will not only suffer the shame of their leaders standing trial at the International Criminal Court for obnoxious crimes, but also dictatorship.
A cabal of Kenyan and African leaders want to herd Africans back into dictatorship and slavery of yesteryears camouflaged as liberation from Western imperialism.
After making ICC and African domestic laws to promote African dictatorship and be blind to crimes against humanity, proposed amendments to the Rome Statute if passed will soon be followed by amendments to articles 2(5) and 143(4) of Kenya’s constitution.
Tragically, if Kenyan and African leaders succeed in gaining for African dictators, security from prosecution by ICC and domestic laws, followed by legitimisation of that dictatorship by profit-seeking western governments, all gains of democracy attained by the second liberation will be rolled back in a jiffy.
Unfortunately, as leaders fight to restore dictatorship, the African middle class is distracted from the unfolding tragedy by their unparalleled greed and chase for money while ethnic mobilisation makes African masses blind to whatever is happening.
Though many have not noticed, the journey to second dictatorship started after the advent of second liberation. And it started after restoration of multiparty democracy, where the ruling elite also embraced the ideology of negative ethnicity and “power at all costs” which has trampled democracy and paved the way for tyranny through elections of ethnic mobilisation and rigging.
Even yesteryear reformers spice their quest for self-serving tyranny with the well-known gem of Machiavellianism: the end justifies the means.
This has allowed them to embrace any and every evil, including ethnic hate, rigging, bribery, sycophancy, war and anything that can put them into National Assembly, Senate, governor’s mansion or County Assembly.
Indeed, rather than organise Kenyans to elect their best leaders, ethnic elites whip up negative ethnicity to organise communities to vote for only their own ethnic leaders when they are the worst for themselves and the country.
These ethnic bigots going by the name leaders, when called upon by their ethnic kings will oblige to rig elections, preach ethnic hate, mobilise ethnic dictatorships and make war against enemy communities.
When Kenyans went into elections in 2007, they were organised as ethnic communities and alliances ready to do anything, including rigging, to win elections against ethnic enemies. After winning, they wanted to constitute an ethnic state dictatorship to unleash against ethnic enemies in a scramble of resources and power they were determined to win.
When one set of ethnic elites out-rigged the other, war was declared against enemy communities. This war which we baptised post-election violence killed over 1300 and displaced over 600,000.
When six Kenyans were identified as the most responsible for the war, those in Parliament rejected a local international tribunal and chose to be tried at The Hague where they believed their trials would never commence.
When trials commenced, the accused demanded to be taken back to Kenya, not to be tried but excused from trial because they had won an election whose victory, they argued, was a verdict against trial.
It was further claimed that the two communities whose alliance and leaders won elections made the prosecution of President and his deputy unnecessary. The logic of these arguments was simple. Once elected, leaders become dictators who are above the law and beyond prosecution for any crime.
It is even further argued that as long as an African leader is in power, he or she must never be put on trial. But if a leader can be put on trial when out of power, why would he not make himself life president to escape any future prosecution. Like before when Africa was under the yoke of one-party dictatorship, fear of prosecution is the genesis of the next crop of African dictators for life.
Kenyan leaders have argued because their cases at The Hague are weak, they should be dropped. But if cases are weak, why not demolish them in court and clear their names?
But logic of dictatorship does not allow a head of state to stand trial – it is humiliating and stigmatising. Though ICC was made for dictators who could not be prosecuted at home, according to African dictators, it should be for those who rebel against them only.
ICC or not, dictatorship is coming. Oppressive VAT, media and NGO laws are signs of dictatorship. Big lies like those of Goebbels characterize tyranny. Denying a critic a job or security is dictatorship. But why would anyone want dictatorship after our terrible experience with it?
To a dictator, tyranny is sweet. It makes him god. It gives him a whole country to own and use. It gives him slaves. It showers him with worship.
It protects him against prosecution. It gives him unlimited loot. It gives him power to play God with 40 million subjects. It allows him perverse pleasure from human suffering. Those who have once been dictators will always be tyrants.