Successful prosecution of felonious politicians will end politically instigated violence in Kenya

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If our collective memory serves us well, we all know that the aftermath of Kenyan general election that was held in 2007, more than 1,300 people were killed and more than 300,000 others were displaced.

The violence had serious political, social and economic ramification throughout Kenya and in the entire neighboring region.

Sadly, this unfortunate incident that dented Kenyan image home and abroad was attributed to the sins of omissions and commissions of our politicians. Police brutalized innocent citizens, women were raped and children were rendered orphans.

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Government agencies including Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Judge Philip Waki led Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) collected and collated evidences against high-profile individuals who were accused of organizing and financing attacks and retaliatory attacks against innocent Kenyans.

Unfortunately, the coalition government of former president Mwai Kibaki and former prime-minister Raila Odinga developed cold feet and did absolutely nothing to prosecute the looters, the killers and rapists. Our judiciary and police dillydallied under the umbrella of impunity. To date, there hasn’t been a successful prosecution of high profile individuals whose names were prominently mentioned.
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The sluggishness in our judiciary, police inefficiency and failed political leadership precipitated The International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate crimes against humanity. A few politicians were found culpable and arraigned before the ICC.  We still anticipate for justice to be done for the victims of the post-election violence and the suspects who allegedly masterminded atrocities.

Yet, even before the Uhuru led government settles in office, mayhem has visited upon innocent Kenyans.  Recently, the residents of Garissa bore the brunt of our dysfunctional political system. Tens of people were killed and others displaced. Tens of others were wounded. The violence in Garissa wasn’t spontaneous. Neither was it accidental. It was planned and executed by individuals who have vested political and economic interests.

Garissa violence was fuelled by politically connected individuals within and without our Kenyan government. Their agenda is to polarize the region and instill fear in the residents of Garissa so that they can make the region conducive for illegal trade.

Investigations and media reports revealed recently that “The network of the illegal trade (in Garissa region) is controlled by influential businessmen in Kenya and Somalia with government officials including the police, chiefs, and immigration and custom officers facilitating it.”

Moreover, Last week was hell in Bungoma County. In a well-orchestrated night of terror, 6 residents were murdered inhumanely by machete yielding mobs. Hundreds of others were displaced in what is now turning out to be a politically motivated violence.

Bungoma senator Mr. Moses Wetangula’s brother Mr. Fred Wetangula and former member of parliament for Bumula Mr. Bifwoli Wakoli have been interrogated by Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection to the deaths of Bungoma residents.

Interestingly, the Coalition For Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has lamented about a scheme by rival Jubilee coalition to implicate its leadership in the violence that was visited upon peace loving residents of Bungoma.

However, the art of crying wolf isn’t isolated to CORD alone. It is a universal cry within our political class. Unfortunately, politicization and tribalization of issues is the bane of our ability to match forward with confidence into civilization. We look at every aspect from political and tribal binoculars.

Yet, crying wolf is an art that is well perfected by our politicians. Whenever they are called to account, they retreat into tribal cocoons. Furthermore, they make political statements that are irrelevant and inciting. Theirs is a false alarm to which Kenyans of good will must not pay attention.

Sadly, more often than not, our social behavior is inclined to buy into fake crocodile tears of our politicians. Instead of carrying their own legal and political crosses, politicians hide behind political rhetoric and tribal sentiments to evade justice. Quite a number of reports indicting politicians in various bloodletting incidences and a myriad of improprieties continue to collect dust on government shelves. It is called impunity.

But until we successfully prosecute politicians by imposing a maximum penalty which includes imprisonment, Kenya will forever remain a “banana republic.”

By Jacktone Ambuka, a Kenyan residing at State College, Pennsylvania; USA.You can reach Mr. Ambuka at [email protected], follow him on twitter @jackambuka or check out his Facebook page called Bunyore Discussion Board.

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