I will be shocked if the legal fraternity in Kenya and East Africa in general won’t react towards recent salvos leveled by Ugandan Strong man Yoweri Museveni. I still wonder how Museveni talks about legal matters without consulting with his lawyers if he happens to use them.
Museveni’s recent attacks on the International Criminal Court (ICC) must be condemned. During the swearing-in of Kenya’s new president Uhuru Kenyatta, Museveni was quoted as saying, “I want to salute the Kenyan voters on…the rejection of the blackmail by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda.”
True, first of all, Museveni’s misguided remarks amount to the contempt of the court. Museveni must thank the Lord that ICC does not deal with criminal matters such as contempt of the court. Otherwise he would have been in big trouble.
Importantly, looking at how Museveni undermined the ICC and Kenyan voters, chances are that he does not respect courts in Uganda. Ironically, if we allow ourselves to become cheap and controversial to think like Museveni, we’ll end up erroneously saying that even Joseph Kony is not a criminal.
Secondly, it makes no sense for a person of Museveni’s caliber to jabber such utterances. How can you salute Kenyans for voting for indictees? Logically, Kenyans did not vote for Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto based on being indictees, but Kenyans whom they thought would govern their country. So too, Kenyan elections were not about rejecting or endorsing ICC. They were about getting a new leadership after the one that was in power lapsed its constitutional term in office. Simple.
I don’t know how the victims of Post-Election Violence felt when they heard Museveni’s remarks. So too, I can’t get it as to why Museveni ignored the plights of PEV’s victims who have never been redressed.
What I abhor is the fact that Museveni attacked ICC pointlessly. Why doesn’t Museveni want to accept the fact that ICC has nary been an ambulance chaser? Whatever issue that is brought before ICC is brought by the way of application from individuals or countries looking for legal settlement. This is what happened regarding Kenya’s ICC case. Kenya went before the ICC seeking its intervention in trying PEV. What is wrong here? Why didn’t Museveni wait for ICC to reach its verdict and say whatever he wants to? Does Museveni think his political statements will help the indictees? Do they need his backing?
It seems that Museveni has sipped a lot from the cup of power so as to think he is above all laws on earth. What a miscalculation! Is Museveni saying what he is saying just because Congolese authorities did not present his case of killing, raping, plundering, torturing innocent people and invading in DRC? It is still early Mr. Museveni. Even Charles Taylor once daydreamed that his crimes would not be brought before light.
What provokes is the fact that Museveni, whose long time autocratic rule has always been associated with corruption, impunity, repression and disregards of human rights. He was quoted as saying, “I was one of those that supported the ICC because I abhor impunity.” Mr. Museveni, try to be serious and sincere. If Museveni says he abhors impunity, why then his consigliore were implicated in multi-million scandals and he nary brought them to book?
To prove how corrupt Museveni is, it came to light recently that his inner circle siphoned millions of dollars donor money. This forced donors to demand to be reimbursed. And to prove the point, Museveni’s government broke into public coffers and paid back the monies as the means of protecting his courtiers and friends involved in this scandal.
Such move was confirmed by the deputy secretary of Treasury Keith Muhanikizi who was quoted as saying, “I am confirming that we have paid the Irish [and] we shall pay the others (donors) who want their money back,” he said, adding: “We are making a lot of progress on that front.” If Museveni ‘abhors’ impunity as he’d like everybody to believe, why did he pay the monies back by even committing another crime of breaking into the treasury, instead of letting judicial process address the issue? Is this the way Museveni abhors impunity by blessing it?
Media in Uganda reported of massive theft involving donors’ money. It is said that at least Shs60 billion ($22.2 million) meant for recovery and development activities in northern Uganda and Karamoja was likely swindled, infuriating donors who, in a meeting with President Museveni, demanded for a refund of their stolen cash.
Regarding Museveni’s remarks on ICC in conjunction with Kenya’s elections, the indictees are still presumed innocent until the court rules otherwise. So too, Kenyans know what is going on. They don’t need any tutor to teach them what it is. I therefore would argue all those who wrongly think like Museveni to respect the ICC and the intelligence of Kenyans.
In sum, Kenyans did not vote along the lines of who is indicted or not, but they voted for those they wanted, believing they would stir and man their nation. Saying that Kenyans voted for Kenyatta and Ruto simply because they’re indicted is to belittle them so to speak. This should not be accepted.