Good Read on Kenya, Kenyatta, and the ICC

A piece in yesterday’s Guardian from prominent Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina is well worth a read. His ultimate point is that Kenyatta is the candidate for peace and security within Kenya, which is the reality Kenyans are invested in right now. He has strong words for the ICC and the international community’s interference more broadly.

Memorable excerpts for the cliff notes version:

We fully intend to co-operate with the ICC: we opted in, and we will see it through. But I and many others no longer have any serious moral investment in its progress as an institution. I propose they go and build their court properly, and then come back and talk to us when it is grown up, when there are a few convictions of people who are not Africans. Kenya is a real place, with real politics.

I have heard this sentiment in conversations with friends repeatedly over the past few weeks in Malawi, as well as during my visits to Uganda and Rwanda. Many educated Africans are tired of seeing the ICC bring repeated cases against African leaders, cases which are at best ineffectual, and at worst incendiary. I’ve even heard friends say that they will support Kenyatta just because he has the ICC indictment standing against them. Hearing all this makes it hard to understand the ICC’s logic in indicting Kenyatta and Ruto at all, or at least indicting those two and leaving Odinga out of the fray. It seems to me that the ICC went a long way to undermining its own credibility in this case.

My favorite excerpt:

We are not, and have never been, a CNN African country, held together by western pins and glue, pity, bananas and paternal concern.

“African solutions to African problems” is a favorite catchphrase in Washington and in capitals across the continent. It is exciting to see Kenya asserting its commitment to making the catchphrase matter.

And all ideologies aside, it is a relief for everyone in this corner of the world to see the election in Kenya violence-free so far. On a practical note, more fighting there would spike prices on consumer goods across the region where we rely on the Mombasa port for imports and exports. It would also dim investment prospects in the East African community should the region’s brightest star prove unable to generate its own solutions to its ethnic and electoral tensions.


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Filed under Security Politics

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