Watching Deputy President William Ruto bow to judges at the International Criminal Court to take a plea, was a very painful experience to many Kenyans.
This was more so because international attention was, for the first time, focused on a sitting country executive being arraigned in court on charges of crimes against humanity.
How agonising will it be when President Uhuru Kenyatta will stand in the dock to take a plea on similar charges in November? Kenyans are concerned about the impact of their top two leaders being humiliated before a worldwide audience in a very much common criminal scenario.
We should remember that this bizarre circus was of our own creation in the first place. Since independence, successive governments failed to address historical injustices, especially the land issue, tolerated corruption and promoted ethnic animosity through preference in public sector appointments. It was the perception of a stolen presidential election in 2007 which triggered the post-election violence that nearly tipped Kenya over the cliff.
International intervention under Kofi Annan , commissions of inquiry under Judge Krieggler of South Africa and Justice Philip Waki provided, in their respective mandates, what needed to be done to address the issues which underpinned the violence and what steps were to be taken to avoid similar occurrences in future.
The Waki commission went further and recommended a list of ten suspects for prosecution sealed in an envelope on further investigation. It also recommended the establishment of a local judicial mechanism to undertake the exercise, failure to which the cases would be forwarded to the International Criminal Court.
Nobody paid much attention to the list until the envelope was handed over to the ICC Chief Prosecutor. When the prosecutor made public names of six Kenyans to be probed further and held to account for their role in the post-election violence, politicians went hyper. Some claimed that such trials would never take place in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, it was this attitude which made it difficult for the Coalition government which took power under the Kofi Annan plan to persuade the tenth Parliament to establish such a mechanism. Reference to The Hague could have been avoided. Now that the cases are underway at the ICC, how should the accused behave?
Despite being the first sitting Head of State to face charges at the ICC, President Kenyatta has demonstrated a high sense of statesmanship by declaring, right from the beginning, his intention to cooperate with the court as he attempts to clear his name.
By taking this position, he recognised early the need to co-operate as a minimum input towards a fair trial. In my view, this approach has enhanced his willingness and readiness to clear his name.
It has enhanced his stature and safeguarded the integrity of the country. Nobody can accuse him of hiding behind his office to seek special treatment for himself as president of Kenya.
It is also important to distinguish between the country and the accused. Kenya is not on trial in The Hague. Only three Kenyans, two of whom are president and deputy president of the country are.
The third is a prominent journalist whose importance cannot be underrated. Yet because of political and social standing, their cases are very important for this country, nonetheless.
So when the National Assembly and the Senate reacted by voting for Kenya to withdraw from the Rome Statute, it appears that they presumed Kenya was on trial.
In my view, their decisions will take Kenya back to the dark days of impunity where things were done as if nothing really mattered. It is disturbing to listen to lame excuses about the ICC being a neo-colonial outfit only targeting African leaders.
African cases in The Hague have been referred there by African countries themselves or the UN Security Council. Laurent Gbagbo was sent to The Hague by his successor after he caused conflict by refusing to concede defeat.
Jean Pierre Bemba's case was referred by the DRC government. President Yoweri Museveni would gladly let the ICC deal with Joseph Kony. Where does neo- colonialism come in?
Furthermore, the 34 African countries which have ratified the Rome Statute did so as sovereign countries. It is hard for any sensible person to argue that a treaty which was negotiated over a protracted period by sovereign states can suddenly become a tool of the West.
I don't buy that argument. The preponderance of cases from Africa must be related to atrocities committed in African countries themselves. The question we must ask is why these atrocities have been committed and in what way can those who committed them be held to account.
The supposed mass walk out which both houses continue wishing will take place is unlikely to happen. Any country, African or other, can pull out of the Rome Statute on the basis of its national interests and not because of Kenya.
Informed observers of the Kenyan political scene will argue that in addition to the provision of the appeal process under the 2010 constitution, the presence of the ICC helped avert another conflict after the last general election.
The grievances were similar to those after the 2007 election. I find it unforgiving to drag the country into the ICC cases over personal challenges.
There are far greater issues affecting Kenyans in their daily lives such as the spiraling cost of living exacerbated by price hikes occasioned by the recent VAT Act which require our MPs' urgent attention.
There is another fallacy that needs to be dispelled. Kenya cannot dispense with certain international engagements without adversely affecting her economic potential.
Due to technological advances, the world has become a global village. No country can claim to have it all or pretend to act alone or with just a few other countries. Response to international issues demands collaboration and partnerships among the community of nations.
As Kenya re-aligns her foreign policy to accommodate the East more substantively, it is absolutely imperative to maintain good relations with her traditional partners from the West rather than cheaply brand them as imperialists and blame them for the consequences of actions which Kenya took as a sovereign nation.
The country's international engagement, both diplomatic and economic must acknowledge the need to balance between the West and the emerging countries of the East such as China, India, Russia and others.
This balance is critical to Kenya's international standing as a credible actor on the international scene. Both houses of Parliament should not hoodwink Kenyans to accept decisions whose vision is short-term and myopic.
The winner-take-all mentality will destroy Kenya as an anchor for business, tourism and the diplomatic pre-eminence the country has enjoyed since the establishment of Unep and Habitat whose umbrella office, the United Nations at Nairobi, UNON, has now been upgraded to the levels of Geneva and Vienna. Like the Rome Statute, these organisations, imperfect as they are, belong to the UN family into which Kenya is firmly anchored.