4 August 2012

Kenya: Maina Kiai's Comments On Uhuru and Ruto Vindictive


From the recent sentiments by the likes of Maina Kiai, John Githongo and Wafula Buke, calling for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto not to contest for presidency, it is clear that our level of political maturity has been horribly degraded.

In his piece, Maina undermines his legal integrity and exposes his limited knowledge of Kenya, the constitution and his biases towards the ICC process.

It is surprising that Kiai, an intelligent and respected lawyer, cannot comprehend that matters of ICC are not subject to public debate as he has continually engaged the citizenry on the ICC discourse through his column in the Saturday Nation.

Maina should be reminded that these are sensitive issues and his continual engagement obviously implies that he has some hidden interest or he is serving unknown forces that have interest in the Ruto and Uhuru case at the Hague with the effect of undermining the jurisprudence of the entire ICC process through continuous prejudicial arguments.

In his argument, Maina cites no single part and/or section of the new constitution that bars either Uhuru or Ruto from contesting in the upcoming presidential election, while in the court of public opinion, he still holds to and advances the argument that the two do not qualify to vie; evidently violating their democratic right to election by law.

These individuals just like other Kenyans have the constitutional right to vie for any elective office and its only Kenyans who hold the final decision of voting them for presidency whether they will 'embarrass' Kenyans or not as Maina, with foul intentions, wildly alleges.

Before leaving office at the end of his term, former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo issued a clear advisory taking cognisance of the sovereignty of the republic and government of Kenya in the entire process asserting that the decision on whether or not Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are fit to vie come next election is the exclusive constitutional reserve of the people of Kenya.

If Uhuru and Ruto can be barred from contesting on the basis of allegations that they participated in post-election violence, should Raila too be barred from contesting based on the allegations that Miguna Miguna has made that he participated in distribution of rotten maize to Kenyans something that led to widespread death and suffering?

Miguna also alleges that he has information regarding the participation of ODM in post election violence. What is Kiai's view on this? It seems Maina doesn't believe in democracy or the rule of law. He believes that one should be condemned unheard. He doesn't care about rights and procedural fairness. And in the Nyayo tradition, Maina thinks that Ruto and Uhuru are worthless and not entitled to any legal or constitutional protection merely because their cases have "passed the first crucial judicial test" and have been confirmed by a panel of three independent judges, in a credible international court.

He further asserts that they deserve anything Article 73, Chapter 6 of the Constitution subjects them to. This is an argument towards personal discretion but not one in law. This matter is already under the jurisdiction of the ICC; one then wonders why Kiai has not openly declared an ideal candidate for Kenyans.

As a human rights crusader, Kiai has a right to educate Kenyans on how to vote or elect credible leaders as per the Chapter Six of the Constitution but not to incite Kenyans on whom to reject. If Kenyans want Uhuru or Ruto as their president, then Maina has no mandate to block them and the implication is that Kenyans will have no 'embarrassment' having a president who has a case at the Hague as the columnist alleges.

The wholly made up "fact" by Kiai that Ruto and Uhuru are making a mockery of constitution by standing for office is what is known in logic as the "Straw man argument": set up a false premise, destroy it in argument and then declare victory. That's not something I would expect from someone like Maina Kiai but there you have it, and goes to support my conclusion this is the worst piece Maina has ever written on Ruto and Uhuru and probably will.

Okwaro Oscar Plato is a political analyst with Quadz Consulting Africa. The views expressed are solely his own and not of the organisation.

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