Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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The government has been criticized in its relentless move to compel the International Criminal Court -ICC to have the cases facing four Kenyans for crimes against humanity to be deferred back to be handled by a local tribunal or at the East African Regional Court based in Arusha Tanzania.
Non Governmental Organization -NGO council chairman Ken Wafula told journalists in Kitale that the move is time bad and the court's process is irreversible.
Speaking during a fundraising ceremony for the funeral of Nzoia County Council chairman Samson Bunyasi, Wafula who is also the Executive director of Center for Democracy and Human Rights said that the coalition government squandered the opportunity given to it by The Hague-based court to form a local tribunal to handle the post-election cases that led to the four suspects confirmed to face trial at the court.
"The two sides of the government that is the Kibaki-led side and the Raila-led side had enough time to form a local tribunal, but they failed hence it is quite clear that the four suspects are going to be tried and maybe jailed through that court," Wafula told reporters.
He said that the government's move to have the cases deferred shall yield no fruits at the moment but it is just meant to console the Kenyans; the truth of the matter is that the suspects are to face trial at ICC and those with presidential ambitions among them shall not be on the ballot box in the next general elections.
"The truth of the matter is that the two guys shall not have their names on the ballot box. Tell Kenyans to know that whatever what comes the two aspiring presidential candidates indicted at The Haque will not vie for the presidency," the chairman pointed out to journalists.
The chairman added that the Arusha-based regional court has no jurisdiction to handle criminal cases of that nature adding that the East African Legislative Assembly did not read the law properly hence the move is misguided to lobby for the deference of the cases.
The Kenyan government is said to have no ability to return the cases to Kenya, take them to East Africa or African Union -AU headquarters or to Human Rights headquarters in Banjul.
He at the same time revealed that the two principals president Mwai Kibaki and prime minister Raila Odinga might not escape the hook of the ICC cases saying that they might be sought at a later stage as far as the court's operations are concerned adding that the suspects are likely to go the Lubanga and Charles Taylor way.
Warrant of arrest
Wafula further noted that the ICC might be forced to issue warrants of arrest for the four suspects if it reaches a point where the suspects are seen to be instigating violence and causing tension in the country.
"If by the time we reach August, if the four Ocampo suspects appear to be mobilizing for violence and their activities are a threat to national security then, obviously the ICC will issue arrest warrants to have them arrested," Wafula said.
On the controversial elections date that is still eliciting diverse views, Wafula showed support for the March 2013 date noting that despite most Kenyans backing the December date, it might not be convenient to hold the elections in December due to the nitty-gritty involved in the exercise.
The chairman further urged Kenyans and political parties to do thorough vetting of candidates parading for different political seats in the next general elections to ensure that they all can pass the chapter six integrity test.
He said that according to the current Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission IEBC's position pertaining chapter six has given the vetting responsibility to the political parties to produce clean candidates with good records who can pass the test lest they will have the positions left vacant in any eventuality they fail the test finally.
At the same time the executive director pointed out Trans Nzoia County which he is also a resident that has the highest levels of corruption embroiling some of the current aspirants parading for various elective seats.
He cited the land grabbing as the major mode of corruption in the area with other modes of impunity and thus before the electorate or a political party lands on a candidate to vie for a given seat, they must consider such issues both in public and private lives of the candidates.
The council and the human rights groups shall source for funds to educate the electorate on the new constitution especially on chapter six among other electoral-related rules according to Wafula who hinted that he might be running for the seat of senator in Trans Nzoia County.
The fundraising exercise that was led by the vice chairman of the council Albert Chepkwony helped raise over Kshs 581,000 to assist in the funeral arrangements of the departed long serving chairman who will be laid to rest on Saturday May 5.
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