By Chris Maina
As if unaware that the trial of Deputy President William Ruto and Journalist Joshua Arap Sang is ongoing, a group of reactionary university lecturers drawn all over the fledgeling Kenyaâ€™s higher education system yesterday claimed unashamedly that the cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Sang could spoil reconciliation efforts in the country.
But the question is: what are these â€˜reconciliation efforts? Where are they being made and who are the â€˜satisfied beneficiariesâ€™ of the efforts?
According to these â€˜scholarsâ€™, any search for justice for the post-election violence victims means that people will continue to harbour revenge. With transcripts unmarked and their students suffering from the scourge of missing marks, these â€˜scholarsâ€™ were at Laico Regency yesterday, spewing incomprehensible â€˜intellectual verbiageâ€™ on cases whose ugly causes they watched from the confines of their up-market neirbourhoods, quarantied by false claim to empty knowledge.
And who were these scholars? Imagine one is (professor) Bethwel Kiplagat! This same Kiplagat authored a report on justice where, if only we had a functional judicial system and a culture that abhors impunity, the could by now be cooling off in Kingâ€™ongâ€™o maximum Prison. The less we say about (Dr) Emmanuel Kisiangâ€™ani the better.
His own peers think he is a knowledge paperweight whose â€˜ideasâ€™ should not be taken seriously. This is a preview to the manâ€™s grey matter:
â€œIt has to be a balancing act between peace and justice. In the case of Kenya, I think each one of us has an opinion, but I feel the situation is too polarised,â€ said Dr Emmanuel Kisiangâ€™ani. Too polarised? Who, if anyone, has ever agreed with findings of a court which sends you to jail? People died during 2007/08 and while Kenyans know that no justice will ever bring the dead back, taking those culpable through the law is in itself restorative. It is a way of alleviating the pain.
To argue that justice meted on the highest suspects of the post-election violence crime will hinder reconciliation is to continue spitting on survivors of the post-poll violence; many whose lives will never be the same again.
These â€˜scholarsâ€™ have the nicety of time to wallow in the political questions of the â€˜credibilityâ€™ of the ICC. Even more egregious, they still talk about Bush and Blair.
â€œJustice Processes need to be credible and so the question maybe, is the ICC credible? My view is that if we have to go to The Hague, then we have to also send Bush and Blair there.â€
It is difficult to imagine how the scholars came to this conclusion that the ICC is a spoiler for reconciliation. One only hopes that the proverbial â€˜cheap moneyâ€™ did not exchange hands with the societyâ€™s repositories of knowledge â€“ the intellectuals.
(Prof) Peter Kagwanja claimed:
â€œICC has its place in international justice, but in Kenya it is doing more harm than good, in the long-term,â€ argued Prof Peter Kagwanja, the Chief Executive of local think-tank, Africa Policy Institute.
â€œAs an intellectual, I conceived it as an act of opening old wounds. Even though the two communities (Kikuyu and Kalenjin) have reconciled, I would dare say that if pushed to its logical conclusion, the scenarios that might emerge from the ICC might actually disrupt that process which reconcilers and others have been trying to stitch together so carefully,â€ he said.
According to Kagwanja, only the Kalenjins and the Kikuyus needed reconciliation and as he aptly puts it, â€˜they have reconciledâ€™. Isnâ€™t this lousiness reloaded? The intellectuals are bidding for the highest retainer. No, they are just lying!
(Prof) Bethwel Kiplagat claimed that â€˜going to court is not a â€˜guarantee for peace in futureâ€™.
â€œThere is sickness in the land, people have been hurting; whether it was done by the government, whether it was done by the individual or whether it was done by a relative, it really doesnâ€™t matter,â€ Bethwel claims. So what matters? Accept and move on?