Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Global Justice, Accountability and the Kenyan election

As we move forward please consider the following views by scholars. I am personally familiar with the work of all three of these scholars, and I respect their views.

Jendayi Frazer

Jendayi Frazer--former US Assistant Secretary for State for African Affairs, former Harvard Kennedy School Professor, and current adjunct senior fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations-- critiques the role of the ICC in the recent Kenyan election. She makes several important points that I think are worth noting. First, she notes that The Supreme Court of Kenya correctly allowed Uhuru Kenyatta to run on February 15, 2013 because the ICC cannot bar candidates. Second, she argues that the ICC was pre-emptively trying to try and convict Uhuru Kenyatta in the court of public opinion. Further, she states that the ICC's legitimacy has been compromised by the fact that Luis Moreno Ocampo has only found cases of atrocities and crimes against humanity in Africa. ICC has Fallen Fromt the High Ideals of Global Justice, Accountability, Jendayi Frazer Daily Nation, March 16, 2013. Most importantly, she states that "Kenya's new institutions must be respected and allowed to operate autonomously."

Mahmood Mamdani
 The world renowned Africanist Mahmood Mamdani, whose work  I teach in my class, ( I recommend Citizen and Subject, among other books) weighs in as well. He argues that there were two key issues in this election, land and the ICC.  Indeed, tragically, the three largest landowners in Kenya are its three presidential families, Kenyatta, Moi, and Kibaki. (As an aside, this fact breaks my heart, and it indicates to me that since Independence, Kenya has been more of a predatory state than a developmental one.) Mamdani notes that the explanation for the ethnic reconciliation which occurred this March the 4th between the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu can be found in the domestic impact of the ICC. He argues that the ICC re-ethnicised Kenyan politics, re-dividing the country into two large ethnic coalitions. Kenya 2013: The ICC Election, Mahmood Mamdani, Al Jazeera March 15, 2013

Makau Mutua
  Makau Mutua is Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the Kenya Human Rights Commission. (He has an excellent book entitled Kenya's Quest for Democracy, Lynne Rienner Press) He emphasizes the need for the candidates to accept the court's opinion, even if they disagree with it. He notes that for an election to be gree and fair, there must be universal suffrage. All eligible voters must be able to register in credible, verifiable, tamper proof rolls. Candidates must enjoy an environment free of repression. The state must not favor a candidate or doctor the process. He emphasizes the need for the IEBC to be independent. What Is Odinga's Case Against Uhuru Kenyatta? Makau Mutua, The Daily Nation, March 16, 2013 Importantly he notes

"The Supreme Court would most likely nullify the presidential vote if it's proved the numbers tampered with were sufficient to cannibalise the 'will of the voters.' But this is a tall order, and the statistical evidence must be damn near impeccable."

Food for thought, indeed. 


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