Ocampo’s meeting with Kenyans in New York cancelled


Pressure by Kenya Government and Party of National Unity activists in the United States has led to cancellation of Friday open forum with Kenyans by The Hague Prosecutor and his successor.

The much-publicised Diaspora meeting with Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his successor, Fatou Bensouda, who are key pillars of the case against six high-profile Kenyans at The Hague was to take place on Friday in New York.

Discussions would have centred on Kenya’s post-election violence and next year’s transitional elections from President Kibaki to Kenya’s fourth ruler.

Shamiso Mbizvo, Co-operation Advisor for the Kenya Teams, who was co-ordinating the meeting, sent out an e-mail statement on Tuesday morning that said the meeting had been cancelled because the response to the event had been overwhelming and so the organisers were rescheduling it to a later date, "in order to accommodate broad interest".



She did not say exactly when the meeting would be held despite the fact it had generated a lot of interest among Kenyans in the US.

"Thank you very much for your interest in the December 16, event on Peace and Justice in Kenya in 2012: How Kenyans in the Diaspora Can Contribute. The response to this event has been overwhelming. To fully accommodate interest in this event, the meeting is being rescheduled; we aim to have the event in January. We regret any inconvenience caused. We will let you know when details become available about a new date for this event," she said.

But The Standard established the event that was to be also addressed by Prof Makau Mutua, a leading US-based Kenyan law academician, was unceremoniously canceled because of intense pressure from the top leadership in Kenya and their operatives in the US who saw an Orange Democratic Movement’s hand in organisation of the meeting.

In an urgent letter sent to Alan Rothstein, a manager at New York City Bar, where the event was to take place, John Kamau, a PNU activist from Arizona, said the organisers of the meeting were either known ODM activists or imposters.



"The group in question is an imposters’ team known for several other sensational scams for political purposes in support of a presidential candidate," he wrote.

The letter was copied to Macharia Kamau, the Kenyan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UN in New York who, it is believed, contacted Moreno-Ocampo to express the Government’s displeasure with the meeting.

Speaking to The Standard on the phone from Arizona, Mr Kamau said the organisers of the meeting as advertised are perceived to be partisan.

"Charles Kodi is a well known ODM activist. Ms Nyong’o is the daughter of a senior ODM functionary, Prof Mutua as key spokesperson, is a known ODM sympathiser. Though some facts could be wrong, the public perception could not be redressed after Charles Kodi selectively sent out the e-mails," he argued. Kamau said the ICC process should be divorced from political maneuvering.

A source at the City Bar, who sought anonymity so he could speak, told The Standard that pressure notwithstanding, the game-changer for the meeting was the story in the Monday edition of The Standard newspaper that went viral when the Diaspora picked it up.

"The story in The Standard just exploded and by 10am on Monday, our phones were jammed by hundreds of Kenyans calling to inquire about the meeting. Initially, our understanding was it was just a small meeting of not more than 50 people. When we heard that there could be thousands, we panicked," the source said.

Moreno-Ocampo and Bensouda’s date with Kenyans living in US had been set to take place on Friday at New York City Bar Association, Stimson Room, 42 West 44th Street.

It was to be hosted by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the New York Bar African Affairs Committee, and the Vance Centre of the City Bar.

According to the organisers, the event was to feature a lively and interactive discussion between a diverse group of guest speakers including Ocampo, Bensouda, Prof Mutua, Lupita Nyong’o, a Kenyan actress and movie-maker, and Mwashuma Nyatta, a Kenyan musician in US.

Though there have been several such meetings in US between Ocampo and Kenyans in Diaspora, this meeting wrangled many people in Government especially supporters of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who saw it as ODM’s move to either embarrass him or influence ICC ruling on Ocampo Six expected by January 21.



Uhuru is one of the top six Kenyan politicians and officials ICC has charged over the unrest after Kenya failed to set up a local tribunal to try the perpetrators of 2007-2008-post poll violence.

Others are former Cabinet ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, former police commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, and Kass FM’s head of operations and presenter Joshua arap Sang.

Four US-based Kenyans – Joseph Lister Nyaringo, Barrack Abonyo, Jimmy Onkangi, Sammy Mweberi Abuga, and Denzel Musumba – issued a joint statement criticising the cancellation.

"This was not a meeting to implicate any of the six suspects, but a forum of solidarity to support fighting impunity in our land,’’ they said.

"It was not going to be a court, but a congregation of Kenyans living in USA and their friends who are interested to share ideas and get Moreno-Ocampo’s view on the way forward with The Hague trials,’’ they added.

Source- http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000048333&cid=4&ttl=PNU, ODM wars kill Ocampo meeting








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