Loyal, middle-of-the-road Chinese and good ole Americans heartily agree on the doctrine of noninterference in local affairs. How passe. Listen instead to the New Kenyans.
Yesterday in Kenya pep rallies resembling a Final Four sendoff were being held all over the country. There were bands (marching, although not intended to have been), poms poms (well, bunched up flags), cheers (in Kikuyu, Luo and Kalenjin) and lots of camera flashes from lots and lots of enthusiastic supporters.
Is the World Cup still on? Did a Kenyan outshoot Tiger? Did Michael Jordan come out of retirement?
No, no, no no. This is the start of a murder trial.
And the day ended with four prominent Kenyans boarding an international flight to Europe and they were not headed to a basketball court. They were going to a different kind of a court. Criminal.
Six of what had been Kenya’s most powerful men alive are answering summons by the International Court at the Hague that they organized the widespread violence that followed the 2007 elections which left more than 1300 people dead and 150,000 displaced. If found guilty, they could be imprisoned for 25 years.
That could seriously disrupt their campaigns for national office next year.
These are not political underlings. They include the son of the founder of the country, the former head of the national police, the former head of the civil service, the attorney general and a former vice president.
Why are clever politicians submitting to a process that could ruin their lives, that is orchestrated from abroad?
In fairness to the complexities of Kenya, the answer is more complicated than just “it’s the will of the people.” But in fact, it is the will of the (Kenyan) people and in large part because New Kenyans understand that they are inexorably linked to the greater world order. If they want to impact this order, they also have to submit to it.
The United States and China are two of the few countries in the world that do not recognize the International Court. Kenya, and all progressive countries, do.
A poll released yesterday by Synovate showed a whopping 61% of all Kenyans wanted the accused to stand trial at The Hague.
This is the culmination of a very long process that began more than two years ago. The agreement managed by Kofi Annan that ended the violence following the 2007 elections mandated bringing to justice those determined responsible for it. Kenya had a certain time limit to fashion courts internally to do so, and if unable to do so (as proved the case), the International Court was summoned to do so, instead.
Parliament went back and forth on numerous ocassions trying to set up an internal court, but was unable to do so. In part this was because there was no single ethnic group apparently more culpable than another. They were all involved. It was a sort of melting down pot after the 2007 election. Three or four or five ethnic groups were all fighting each other.
Kenyans as a whole (especially the youth) are emerging above their enthnicities and really thinking of themselves as New Kenyans. They want these old rivalies ended. And clearly, they want them ended in line with a World Order evinced at least in part by the World Court.
Hurrahs for Kenya, once again. And anybody up for starting a movement to try someone responsible for creating the myth of WMD?