Monday, July 6, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 6, 2009

From Sirte in Libya and The Hague in The Netherlands, the news hasn’t been very for democracy and justice in Africa this week. Finally the continent’s rulers have decided that enough is enough. They will no longer adhere to international obligations like the United Nations’ Rome Statutes. The dead and the dying in Africa can go to hell. The AU rulers will no longer listen to their anguish.

I want to quote Hon Peter Kenneth, a Kenyan legislator who quipped appropriately that if in this day and age, “an Attorney General, a Minister for Justice and a prominent pro-democracy lawyer legislator, all from Kenya can travel to Geneva and The Hague merely to plead for delayed justice, then we have lost it!”
This was the reaction that spoke for millions of Kenyans whose anger could not be captured by the media.

It must have been the same reaction across the continent from Liberia to Sierra Leone, from Darfur to the DRC and from Addis Ababa to Mogadishu where human life has lost value.

It must have been a sad day for poor Africa when the AU leadership in Sirte decided to stand by one of their own against the dead and dying in Darfur. I wonder how Kagame felt sitting among such despicable cabal of leadership.

But I also wonder how Robert Mugabe, Meles Zenawi, Mwai Kibaki and El Bashir must have felt. They must have breathed an air of relief and sense of victory when the brotherhood of the AU threatened to cut links with the ICC so that there would be no future threat of trials of Africa’s big men.

One wonders why that communiqué did not include a demand for the immediate release of Taylor and all those Rwandans facing trial at The Hague related court in Arusha.
However, one also could not fail to read a contradiction in their statement from Sirte.

Whereas they felt confident enough to challenge the UN’s ICC Court and even threaten non-cooperation if it continued targeting Africa leaders, they felt vulnerable enough on Somalia to suggest the UN intervention by way of an international peace keeping mission.

Looked at differently this was the height of hypocrisy where the sovereignty card was only applicable when African leaders were threatened . Yet, when faced with a conflict of their own making next door then the UN was a necessary refuge!

With all the oil, muscle and rhetoric, why can’t this toothless Union called the AU sort out the continent’s problems if indeed it does not want the ICC and Western powers harassing its leaders?

Why can’t they deal with Darfur, LRA, Mugabe , DRC and Kenya’s ethnic violence if they are truly a continental leadership worthy of respect among the community of nations?

Why is it that it is the same Africa that must suffer perennial hunger and starvation year in year out without a solution in sight? How come the Arab world in the desert north of African can feed itself without World Food Programme hand outs every other year?

How can poor Somaliland, a break-away Somalia state feed itself throughout the year and every year without a single international recognition? Yet countries like Kenya and Ethiopia with millions of dollars in international aid cannot feed their people!

I supported Muammar Gaddafi when he assumed the AU chairmanship but now I know better. A tiger cannot change its spots simply because it is amongst elephants and giraffes. It retains its spots and cunning. Once a dictator, always a despot.
It was despicable that under Gaddafi chairmanship, the AU attempted to muzzle the ICC operations in Africa. This move alone has revealed Gaddafi’s true intentions with his push for a continental government.

Africa must resist unification under such blatant dictators like Gaddafi. Africa must get rid of them first by any means necessary in order to pave the way for a democratic process of unification. Europe got rid of Hitler, Mussolini and other dictators of the 20th Century before they thought of continental integration. Africa must do the same.

Now I understand why Museveni, Zuma and Yar’ Adua have been resisting Gaddafi’s hurried unification. This man will lead the continent to death, darkness and destruction as he positions his country to look to Europe where he sells his oil.
As for Amos Wako, James Orengo and Mutula Kilonzo, there are no words to describe their shame. These three prominent lawyers have sold the people of Kenya for thirty pieces of silver. The blood of a thousand dead Kenyans whom they have denied justice will haunt them for years to come.

However, all is not lost. As dictators were rallying behind El Bashir to stop the ICC prosecution, Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its verdict in the Liberian Parliament. It found the current president, Madam Shirleaf Johnson guilty of complicity in atrocities of the long protracted Liberian civil war that massacred thousands of civilians. The good lady had been a financial supporter of former president Taylor now facing genocide charges at The Hague! Chances are that the first African woman head of state will be barred from holding public office for life in that country!