THE National Assembly yesterday passed a motion for Kenya to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. The amended motion removed the clause "to suspend any links, cooperation and assistance to the ICC" but retained the commitment to repeal the International Crimes Act 2008 within 30 days and the recommendation that government withdraw immediately from the Rome Statute.
Halfway through the debate, the Cord MPs walked out en masse after Jakoyo Midiwo referred to their Jubilee rivals as "thieves". "You may think you have the numbers but numbers may lead you to hell. Numbers are only good when used correctly," said Midiwo before walking out.
Moving the motion, Leader of Majority Aden Duale said there is no reason for Kenya to remain in ICC when some of the world's biggest countries like the US, China, India and Russia are not members. "This is an affront on the sovereignty of Kenya because ICC has fake witnesses.
Waki bypassed the President and the Prime Minister and handed over the list of suspects to Kofi Annan who has no jurisdiction in Kenya," said Duale. He said Parliament will petition President Uhuru to formally receive the Waki Report because "it was wrongly presented to Kofi Annan who doctored it and removed his friends from the list." Duale questioned the role of the NGO Africog in the ICC cases.
Ironically, in February 2009, then Agriculture minister William Ruto told the Sunday Nation, "Kofi Annan should hand over the envelope that contains names of suspects to the International Criminal Court at The Hague so that proper investigations can start." Ruto was opposing his party leader and Prime Minister Raila Odinga who preferred a local tribunal.
Kabando wa Kabando who seconded the motion yesterdaysaid the ICC was relying on anonymous evidence. "The standard of ICC jurisdiction is lower than that of our judiciary," he said. Leader of Minority Francis Nyenze opposed the motion describing the special sitting as a waste of time in the face of the high cost of living and runway insecurity.
"We really feel for the leaders but let's not contemplate pulling out. US, China, India, Israel, Russia did not ratify the Rome Statute because they have unique history. US is a military power and they have a functional judiciary," he said. His deputy Jakoyo Midiwo said Kenya would be on the fast lane to becoming a failed state if it pulled out of the ICC. "A government that victimises its citizen's needs a 'big brother' and that is the ICC," said Midiwo.
Former minister Katoo ole Metito said Kenya should withdraw from ICC because Kenya needs peace and stability. Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch said the motion demonstrates that Kenya does not want to cooperate with the ICC. "Pushing this motion may result in the ICC changing the bond status.
It could result in detention of the accused," he said. Kitutu Chache South MP Jimmy Angwenyi said Kenya should pull out of ICC because the court was formed for banana republics. "Kenya is not a banana republic," he said. Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja moved an amendment that allows Kenya to continue cooperating with ICC.
"The reason that has precipitated this motion is the non-cooperation of the ICC," said Sakaja. Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau said, "We don't want people to go out there thinking that this house passed the motion seeking non cooperation with the ICC". Bura MP Ali Wario said, "President Barack Obama should first join the ICC before asking Kenya to cooperate with the court." Gwassi MP Millie Odhiambo told Jubilee that they had shot themselves in the foot by beginning the process of withdrawal from the ICC.
"We are daring the ICC. Everything said here speaks to defiance and noncooperation," said Odhiambo.Nairobi Women's rep Rachel Shebesh said, "We can never change history. Kenyans know how we got to the ICC". Marakwet East MP David Bowen said, "ICC is a political court. It is the investigator, prosecutor and judge for these cases". Gatundu North MP Francis Njenga said, "We're debating the feeling of Kenyan people. Kenya has healed and reformed."