December 8, 2014 Mad Hatter

UHURU IS NOW FREE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND WILL JUBILEE HOLD?

There is already talk of an imminent split of Jubilee because the ICC is the cord that bound the two entities together. While I agree that indeed the ICC question played a great role in the unity of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, I think the excitement that the fall of Uhuru’s case spells doom for jubilee is naïve. This is for several reasons.

The dynamics of Uhuru and Ruto cases are very different. The two cases share one indisputable thing; they were at the ICC as a result of either omission or commission of the Kibaki side of coalition government. I have held this opinion for long, and I am certain it will be validated.

Last week ended with a win for one Uhuru Kenyatta. I mean, after the lashing when he came back from his Formula One escapades, he finally facilitated the retiring of Inspector General of Police, and managed to hide Lenku. By the way, was Lenku fired, retired, reassigned or whatever? I do not know, the only accurate answer I have received so far, he was a victim of the Mandera Massacre, quite literally and figuratively.

So, the President’s week could not have ended any better. The International Criminal Court finally withdrew the charges against him. And with that, the man was excited, driving himself home. But as always, the politics of the day dawned on him pretty first.

So what does the withdrawal of the case mean?uhuruto110214

I would like to go back to that clip, when the cabinet secretary for ministry of Foreign affairs was announcing the decision. She noted, to paraphrase her, that with the same vigor and commitment, they will work on the remaining two cases.

The statement reveals something: Work has gone into the Presidents’ case. Whereas the Prosecutor noted that the only reason why she dropped the case was the inadequacy of the evidence, the reality of the political nature of both the court and the cases, suggest that many extra-legal considerations were taken into account.

As Adam Taylor insinuated in his article on Washington Post, the fall of this case has many implications on international justice. One it sets into motion a possibility that even on international platforms, there are people who will always be bigger than the law. Well, Kenya has not hidden its interest in pursuing this agenda, since one of the issues for discussion at the Assembly of State parties is a proposal for immunity of sitting head of states.

Secondly, it brings to the fore the fragility of international mechanisms, and gives us one clear thing that we must always pursue: Our best bet with justice, lies in strengthening local mechanisms. At the international level, it is politics, and one can always negotiate their way out of any situation.
Thirdly, it is a diplomatic score for the African Union; whether the pressure from AU had actual bearing on the outcome of the case or not, the union will be keen to appropriate unto itself a certain level of might. And since politic is just as much impression as it is reality, well the union has definitely scored.

And finally, the withdrawal may just as well have a good impact on the court itself. Since the evidence was inadequate, and the case was withdrawn, the court can claim to be judicially and operationally independent, because, in an ideal situation, cases in courts with inadequate evidence are withdrawn. If it were an entirely political case, Uhuru would have been fixed either way; with or without evidence.
On the domestic front, the collapse of this case will be extremely politically significant.

There is already talk of an imminent split of Jubilee because the ICC is the cord that bound the two entities together. While I agree that indeed the ICC question played a great role in the unity of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, I think the excitement that the fall of Uhuru’s case spells doom for jubilee is naïve. This is for several reasons.

The dynamics of Uhuru and Ruto cases are very different. The two cases share one indisputable thing; they were at the ICC as a result of either omission or commission of the Kibaki side of coalition government. I have held this opinion for long, and I am certain it will be validated.

William Ruto’s advocates have mentioned senior government officials as having been behind his indictment at the ICC. These include a PS and a senior political advisor to the President.

These two people have faced extreme hostility from the URP arm of jubilee, but my guess, is that they are in government because they created the Uhuru Presidency.

So, while the case of the President has collapsed, the Ruto case can also collapse, but will it? I bet it can only be after 2017.

In politics, people bargain with many things, including the dirt I have on you. In my opinion, it will be in the interest of the TNA arm of jubilee to have the ICC case flickering past 2017 as a checkmate to the Deputy President.
Many people share an opinion that Ruto’s chance at the Presidency lies if he were to go against Uhuru in 2017. I partly agree, because after 2017, the dynamics will be very difficult for the Deputy President. Certainly he will no longer be young and cool, a notion jubilee has planted as a key ingredient to qualify as president.

So yes, the impatiently ambitious Deputy President, can actually bolt out of jubilee, and it is in the interest of politics, that TNA maintains a good bargaining chip against him.

So my own projection will be, Jubilee will survive beyond 2017, and Ruto’s case may last beyond 2017.

The second political implication is the disadvantage the death of this case gives to jubilee narrative. It was easy for the duo to cast themselves as victims or a wider scheme to deny them power. They whipped emotions around this, and made their supporters to believe a vote against them, was agreeing that they should head to the ICC.

So, politically, the duo has to find a narrative as powerful as that to replace this. They will in 2017, no longer be victims, or at least the President will not be a victim or a wider plot.

This can easily therefore change the 2017 general elections to be a vote on how well they have performed. If the 2017 election becomes a scorecard, it cedes a relative advantage to their opponents who would like to start objective evaluation of their politics.

In 2013, advancing a rational argument against the duo was very hard since their candidacy was pegged on emotions. You cannot be rational where emotions reign.

Uhuru Kenyatta may therefore easily be the villain of the 2017 elections, a position he has never been politically. In 2002, the villain was Moi, in 2007, it was Kibaki, and in 2013 it was Raila. In 2017, it may be about the person Uhuru Kenyatta.

My own estimation is that this can be exciting, especially because the President seems to be unable to manage criticism well.

The opposition has a good chance at taking this to their advantage; I know they will not anyway.

The only way Uhuru will not be the villain of the 2017 election is if Raila vies for President. If he does, a simple narrative like, let Raila lose fairly for once will carry the day and Uhuru will be smiling back to statehouse. The baggage of incumbency will only rest on Uhuru, if there is no other emotional option in the election.

If therefore Raila fails to run, and the opposition identifies a single candidate whose profile by way of charisma and stature can match Uhuru’s, 2017 elections have a chance of being very competitive.

There has been a debate whether this collapse means the triumph of impunity, to say so, would mean we are presuming Uhuru guilty, which is not fair and is not a notion of the rule of law. As to whether he is innocent or not, the process aborted, there is no objective way of determining that.
There is the certainty of uncertainty as we move ahead. Interesting times that must be watched carefully.

Lone Felix

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