22.03.2024 Author: Simon Chege Ndiritu

Secret, Unholy Alliance between AU and ICC; Kenya’s Post Election Violence 2007/2008

Secret, Unholy Alliance between AU and ICC; Kenya’s Post Election Violence 2007/2008

AU-ICC Background

The Coalition for International Criminal Court (ICC) (here) reported tense relations that exist between the African Union (AU) and ICC, and hailed collaboration between both parties without showing concrete steps to enhance Africans’ access to justice. In 2017, the AU decried ICC’s racism against Africans and passed a nonbinding resolution encouraging its members to withdraw from the ICC (here). Earlier, Burundi, South Africa, and Gambia initiated a withdrawal process, but these countries abandoned these plans shortly afterwards (here). African’s repeated failure to leave suggests that despite the parties’ (AU and ICC) divergent views on justice and accountability, some in Africa’s ruling class find the ICC desirable for concealing their incompetence in discharging their democratic mandates, or maybe unable to resist neocolonial influence. Conversely, the ICC finds Africa as the only place it can feign usefulness by issuing arrest warrants against Africans (here). Therefore, Africa becomes the whipping boy for the US’s and UK’s sins, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Gaza. For instance, in the 2000s, the ICC failed to arrest and charge criminals that ruined Afghanistan and Iraq, but acted useful by issuing an arrest warrant against Sudan’s Omar Al Bashir, whose crimes are a fraction of the Western Coalition’s. This article uses the case of Kenya’s Post Election Violence (PEV) 2007-2008 to show the tacit and profane alliance between some African politicians and the ICC (and the west), which conceals the incompetence of African leaders, and allows the ICC to advance the West’s neocolonialism.

Kenya’s (PEV): Politician’s Greed and Incompetence

Kenya’s (PEV) 2007-2008 signified the zenith of politicians’ incompetence and unhinged greed for power, even at the cost of citizen’s life and property that politicians purport to protect. Afterwards, politicians’ feeble pursuit of justice presents Kenya’s System as a microcosm of the ICC; both hide behind the pursuit of justice but advance the interests of the privileged few in their respective settings. The lack of accountability in Africa shows that the continent’s institutions are incompetent, and the ICC provides an opportunity for Africans (and the AU) to pass the backstop. From December 31st, 2007, Kenya erupted into violence after disputed elections, in the course of which organized groups killed 1,133 people, displaced 350,000, and destroyed 120,000 buildings in a month (here). 15 years later in 2024, perpetrators have never been prosecuted or punished, despite Kenya claiming to have a functional justice system, the AU claiming the same, and the ‘world’ claiming to have ICC. The Kenya Police Service has never arrested perpetrators, while the public prosecution office has never initiated a case, despite a report from the commission of inquiry established to look into the violence dubbed “Waki Report” recommending charging those involved, and referring those bearing the greatest responsibility to the ICC. The elitist Waki Commission, headed by a Judge of then Kenya’s highest court, conveniently shifted the responsibility of dispensing justice to Kenyans over to the unelected and imperialist ICC.

The PEV was precipitated by incompetence and negligence of the ruling class, as leading political factions’ had engaged in polarizing the masses. The government’s side headed by Mwai Kibaki was accused of tribalism and wanton corruption, with the assistance of British swindling firms, actions that formed a fertile ground for hatred against his Kikuyu tribe. Simultaneously, the opposition faction, headed by Raila Odinga ran a campaign of hate, dubbed 41 vs. 1 which entailed marshaling 41 tribes against kikuyus, as was revealed later by Raila’s confidant, Miguna in his book (here). Also, each side embarked on creating ways of rigging the election in its favor, as was reported by commissions of inquiry into the matter (here), leading to unverifiable elections. Consequently, violence broke out when the incumbent, Kibaki was declared the winner and Odinga claimed to have been rigged out. It worsened when Odinga called for mass action. The ensuing mediation process led by the former UN secretary general, Kofi Anan, culminated in Kibaki and Odinga sharing power.

From the foregoing, it is clear that politicians’ incompetence caused bloodshed among the masses but earned leaders power. Also, Kibaki and Raila could not be held to account by the government they led, but the system that brought them to power shifted their responsibilities to the ICC. Meanwhile, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, KNCHR developed a list of six people that bore the greatest responsibility for the violence to be handed over to the ICC prosecutor, Louise Moreno Ocampo, hence the name ‘Ocampo Six’ for the suspects. The six were three from the government faction (Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, and Muhammad Hussein Ali), and three from the opposition (William Ruto, Joshua sang, and Henry Kosgei). Conspicuously missing were Kibaki and Odinga. KNCHR’s poor investigation meant the case was weak and failed readily, while the ICC came out as incompetent by leaking details of witnesses under protection. These witnesses were killed (here). Coincidence? Afterwards, the suspects Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto had already managed to use ICC’s neocolonial practices to gain political support. Both appealed to their supporters to protect them from the ICC, which kikuyus, Uhuru Kenyatta’s supporters viewed as a British colonial tool and Kalenjins, Wilium Ruto’s supporters viewed as Odinga’s tool for politically eliminating him. Here, mutual preservation between political elites and ICC was notable.

Africa’s Balanced Institution, and Duplicitous Politicians

Institutionally speaking, African governments and populations seek true sovereignty from colonialism and the ICC. Consequently, the latter’s warrants against former Sudan’s president, Al Bashir was ignored by Kenya and Chad in 2010 (here) and by South Africa in 2015. The AU officially sided with these African countries. However, elites in some countries and the AU have prevented any tangible development towards Africa’s departure. Double standards among African leaders is notable, for instance in, Kenya’s immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta, who pretends to be anti-colonialism while stashing dubiously acquired money in UK and Panama. He hypocritically deplored colonial practice of England’s queen (here), while he and his family were transferring sums of money equivalent to Kenya’s annual national budget over 5 years to the British banking outpost in Panama. His father was also a president for 15 years, but the family continued to stash dubiously acquired wealth in London, showing where their allegiance is. Apparently, this family think the UK economy is either promising or safer than Kenya’s, views that attest to their failure to make of Kenya what they have seen in the UK throughout their 25-year rule. Other African countries and the AU may have such characters with allegiance to the west.

While considering the impasse between AU and ICC, one should note the absurdity of how the former call out the latter colonial, only when it wants to galvanize Africans support, as AU leaders know that the masses do not like this outfit. In future, political changes will reduce the elites’ room for wheel-a-dealing, such as how Uhuru Kenyatta castigated ICC while in presidential campaigns, but did not lead Kenya out of the court as a president. The ICC, like other Western, globalist institution, convinces African leaders to delegate their responsibility of securing citizens’ justice to it and its incapacity and its backers’ will be revealed if the masses demand more of their rights. African leaders must take their democratic roles seriously, and avoid delegating their democratic mandate to the ICC.


Simon Chege Ndiritu, is a political observer and research analyst from Africa, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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