Up until last general election, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr. William Ruto were on trial at International Criminal Court (ICC) in their personal capacity. But now they’re no longer at ICC as individuals. When they will appear in the court to respond to charges of crimes against humanity, they will do so as president and deputy president of Kenya respectively. Their presence at ICC is inextricably linked to Kenya.
Kenya is being tried alongside President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto. If the duo wins, Kenya wins. If they lose, Kenya loses. Irrespective of our embedded and biased political affiliations, Kenya’s political and economic landscape hangs on ICC. As a matter of fact, ICC will either resuscitate or burry Kenya. Somehow, something positive must come out of ICC situation.
Yet, Kenyan media this week intimated that pressures are mounting on Ruto to disobey ICC summons. It was also revealed that ICC question is raising tension within Jubilee coalition.
The uncertainty of who will remain in charge of the country when Uhuru and Ruto will go to The Hague looms large. This new development comes against the backdrop of United Nation general assembly’s unanimous support for ICC’s “considerable progress.”
Although ICC question remains slippery, disobeying summonses will be catastrophic. Things will move from bad to worse. I suspect international community will retaliate by slapping Kenya with economic sanctions. Our bilateral business opportunities with Kenya’s traditional economic markets will suffer.
United States of America and European Union may disengage from offering Aid to and freeze their philanthropic activities in Kenya. International monetary organizations like IMF and World Bank may redefine rules of engagement and impose stringent penalties against Kenya.
Furthermore, Kenya will be turned into a pariah state. Kenyan leaders will be declared persona non grata-unwanted persons. Western countries may decline to issue visas for our leaders and their cronies. Arrest warrants against our leaders will restrict them from stepping foot on foreign soil that supports ICC.
Otherwise they will be arrested and extradited to The Hague for trial. Kenya’s international image will be ruined. Ordinary Kenyans will suffer economic consequences.
That’s why Uhuru and Ruto should navigate ICC issue with great care. The duo should repudiate advisors who maybe proposing disobedience against ICC summonses as an option. In fullness of time, truth will be known. Who knows? These ICC charges may as well lack water tight evidence to result into a conviction. But disobeying ICC summonses will be catastrophic for Kenya.
: By Jacktone Ambuka, a Kenyan residing at State College Pennsylvania USA. You can reach me by email [email protected], Twitter @JackAmbuka