by SHIRO NJAGI
Maybe I am naïve and not very well-versed with law, especially the Kenyan Constitution and the Roman Statute. I must admit I didn’t read the whole Constitution even as I woke up early that morning and stood in line to cast my Yes or No vote.
Before the post-election violence, I did not even know there was a court called the International Criminal Court that tries war crimes and crimes against humanity, but then again, I didn’t know what Post-Election Violence was until I saw brothers turn against sisters and children get incinerated in a place of worship.
Before the last elections, I didn’t think tribalism was a reality. I didn’t know that bitterness ran so deep in my neighbors’ veins against me. I didn’t know my prejudices and stereotypes against my other brothers ran so deep.
Before post-election violence, I did not know what IDP meant. Internally-displaced person? All I’d ever seen were refugees; people running from their war-torn countries to seek refuge in ours…not people running from their homes within their home country because their neighbors want them dead.
And today, I don’t think I can read and understand the Rome Statute. I don’t think I would fully grasp all the legal jargon in our Constitution if I read it from start to finish (which I plan to do).
Maybe I’m simple and short-sighted. Maybe.
All I know is there are internally displaced persons who had homes before 2007. All I know is there is need for food aid and shelter for these internally displaced persons. All I know is we were all guilty in some way or another in perpetrating the violence, directly or indirectly.
I also know that investigations were done. I read it in the newspaper and I watched the news when Luis Moreno-Ocampo came to Kenya to do his duty. I saw him come into the country and I heard the protests for a local tribunal to be formed. I also know the hotly-contested tribunal was not formed.
I watched the news showing IDPs suffering to make ends meet. I went to Limuru on a mission to aid some internally-displaced persons and I saw the tents that had been donated by international aid organizations. And yes, they were grossly over-crowded and had worn down so much they didn’t look like they could last another month, let alone another week. Food aid to the IDPs was being donated by international goodwill.
I am still watching Kenyan leaders rant and yell that they don’t want international interference in the country’s affairs. What’s laughable is that if there wasn’t any interference, our IDPs would be in a sorrier state as I write this.
I see them say that they will oppose the summons, that they will challenge ICC’s jurisdiction in Kenya. I hear them and I see them and it drives me almost as crazy as V in V for Vendetta.
But I am simple. I am sane. I will not blow up any Government building. On one hand I see an ICC summons. On the other I see IDPs struggling to survive.
It’s simple really. Six people go to trial; justice is served for hundreds of thousands of others.
The future looks brighter with lowered risks of a repeat of 2007 violence. IDPs become residents of a country that is their home. They get their homes back, ideally. Tribalism is shunned by the rest of us, especially the youth. Leaders who are champions of peace are elected in the next elections. Potential leaders who appear to foster tribalism and their own selfish interests are scorned and ignored.
The country grows. The country unites.
Justice is served.