Prosecution seems to have finally learnt one of those inexcusable and peculiar kenyan habits of living in continental Africa. At least according to unofficial communication from the government; the office of the prosecutor is set to do what they would have done eons ago – bribe witnesses.
Save for Sang’s witnesses whom the Kenyan media have so far treated with leprosy caution, not reporting when they have ‘dropped’ or ‘stopped’ cooperating with the ICC, the other ‘key’ witnesses in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, as we are now aware, decided to terminate their duties with the ICC. Some, like the first witness who could not arrive at the Hague on time, went AWOL, and we probably know why – bribery or intimidation, or waiting for more money.
Our rival press covered an interesting story the other day where it alleged that the prosecution is set to bribe witnesses this weekend. You better believe Jackal News. If anything, didn’t they tell us early enough that Manoah Isipisu will be the President’s Chief Communicator? In the past my friends on the other side used to only own gossip and rumour but after march 4th, they added the ‘official truth’ from statehouse: they have never missed or lied ever since!
Be this as it may, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, or should we begin with Moreno Ocampo, failed terribly in doing a feasibility study of the national character of Kenyans. First, he must have believed that all those witnesses he ‘acquired’ were victims of post-poll violence.
Ocampo failed to understand the motivation to be a witness among the Kikuyu and the Kalenjins, and the their hopelessness when tribal loyalty sets in. The Argentine failed to see the the ‘subtle silencing’ the the media, largely owned by the same elites in the kikuyu tribe who woefully covered the 2007 elections as a matter of ‘life and death’, would have on the cases, and the post-2007 media-government industrial complex.
Ocampo also could not believe that the dominant churches in Kenya could be part of the grand conspiracy to silence witnesses, through calls to ‘peace and reconciliation’ as opposed to ‘justice and restoration’. He did not see Cardinal Njue and Bishop Korir openly endorsing suspects of mass murder to garner for leadership of God’s children here on earth. He missed a chance to learn, and a moment to offer justice.
But Ocampo left the Office of the Prosecutor, and in came Gambia’s Fatou Bensouda.
Left with a weak case that would rely on chilling testimonies of witnesses and graphical representation of the events of the orgy that was 2007/08 post-election violence; Fatou Bensouda visited Kenya the other year to acclimatize herself with the history of the events surrounding the Hague cases and the geographical locations of the dead kenyans and the living dead, so called the victims.
Bensouda, like Ocampo before her, failed to take a moment to understand the national character of kenyans. She met wealthy IDPs in sprawling camps who told her bluntly that those in her radar are angels who could not imagine, leave alone coordinate, post-election violence. Ooh, and they were kikuyus. She went to Eldoret and visited the Kiambaa church; but again while at Kiambaa, she was told that the dead that were gorged in that church by the arsonist’s fire could not blame Uhuru and Ruto, only God.
To understand the ongoing events at the ICC is to understand the national character, or let me say the tribal character of Kikuyus and Kalenjins, and by extension of the other peripheral tribes who were only collateral damages during the last election.
Bensouda did not see an impoverished, emaciated people who would ululate when visited by the very suspects who caused them misery. Bensouda failed to comprehend what ksh 500,000 would do to a ‘key witnesses’ whose primary motivation while accepting to be a witness was to profit without breaking a sweat.
The Kenyan cases at the Hague are no longer about the victims. They were never about the victims. Why? Because the victims of the post-poll violence litters everywhere in this country. Some, like the Luo youth still walking with a bullet lodged in his head, have a different story; not of victimhood but of neglect.
But the good news that the Prosecutor is set to bribe witnesses over the weekend offers new hope. What I would urge mama Fatou Bensouda is to be very careful. . .very very careful. Why? Because the witnesses she is set to bribe may just fix her after pocketing the money and crossover to be oiled appropriately by the defense. In Kenya, we call it ‘double dealing’. Is Bensouda aware of it?
But go ahead mama; bribe them, promise to build them castles in the Bahamas, put them in expensive hotels in exotic world capitals. At best, to achieve great results, give them new citizenship status in Vanilla Islands or Las Vegas because only then will you get the kind of resolve and forthrightness you desire from your kenyan witnesses.
I suggest to you mama Fatou that next time you visit Kenya, pay Michael Joseph a courtesy call. He is the only white man in this century who has proved to understand kenyans. A weirdly peculiar people.