Sunday, July 21, 2024

Museveni claims ICC insincere, alleges plot to lock up Kenyatta

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has sensationally claimed that there is a plot to detain President Uhuru Kenyatta at The Hague when his trial begins on July 9.

President Museveni is said to have told heads of state from East and Horn of Africa meeting under the umbrella of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) on Friday night that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was not sincere in its dealings on the Kenyan case.

“ICC should tell us if they plan to detain [Mr] Kenyatta. They should give us an explanation if he is going to come back to Kenya because the information we are receiving is different,” Mr Museveni was quoted as saying in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The source, who could not be named for protocol reasons, said Mr Museveni added: “We will not agree to have him attend if the intention is to detain him. If we don’t have a clear picture of the plans by the International Court, then it means our relations with them will be soured. They should treat us with dignity.”

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The Igad heads of state also challenged the ICC to give a comprehensive report on the schedule of President Kenyatta’s trial.

It was not immediately clear why Mr Museveni made the claims, especially because President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, who are accused of crimes against humanity over the 2007/8 post-election violence, have been co-operating with the ICC since they were indicted in 2011. President Kenyatta took office on April 9 and, among other things, promised to respect international laws and clear his name in court.

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Mr Ruto travelled to The Hague two weeks ago for a meeting with the judges, of his own volition, and pledged to co-operate with the court. He successfully petitioned the court to move his trial from May 28 to a new date yet to be set.

Under the ICC rules, Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang can only be detained if the prosecutor applies for an arrest warrant on the grounds that they had breached the conditions that allowed them to attend trial as free men. These include interfering with witnesses, refusing to co-operate with the court, inciting people to violence  and committing further crimes against humanity.

Mr Museveni is behind the push by African Union heads of state to ask the ICC to drop the Kenya cases. A council of foreign ministers voted on Thursday for the case to be brought back to Kenya or the charges be investigated afresh. Only Botswana opposed the resolution.

“We are asking the ICC to stop the prosecution of the two Kenyan principals, if not then they should re-investigate the cases because there are a lot of falsehoods that led to the prosecution of these individuals,” said Mr Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister.

Zambia President Michael Sata told journalists at the African Union headquarters on Friday evening that Africa should learn to deal with her problems.

Challenged Kenyans

“Where was The Hague when Africa was fighting for Independence? If you find a Kenyan or Zambian president at fault, let the Kenyan or Zambian people deal with him, not The Hague,” said Mr Sata.

He challenged Kenyans to solve their own problems.

“You Kenyan people, if you kill each other at home, then get justice at home. Don’t rush to find it at The Hague in Netherlands, deal with your issues the Kenyan way,” he added.

AU Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma also supported Africa’s bid to solve its own problems.

“When we talk about African solutions for African problems, it’s because we know how the guns can be silenced,” Dr Zuma told journalists on Saturday.

African Union heads of state were yet to vote on the resolution by the time we went to press.

“We are doing it for one of the African countries, for the people of Kenya. How do they expect a sitting president to run the country from a cell in a foreign country? We shall not allow this. The report from ICC has to be very clear on what they plan to do with the Kenyan president.”

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