By Tony Mochama
The soundproof room of credentials can lock out all common sense. Take the case of one Courtenay Griffiths, whose calling card is ‘Queen’s Counsel, and a leading expert in Criminal Law’ whose article was carried by The Standard on Sunday July 15.
The main thrust of the man’s argument can be so summarised: that the United Kingdom is after Uhuru Kenyatta, using the ICC machinery, so that their man in Kenya, Raila Odinga, may have an easier ride to the Presidency. Bollox! To fire off his case, Mr Griffiths, QC, said that the UK has shown that it is no friend of Africa by appointing as Minister of Africa Henry Bellingham, a ‘close friend’ of the mercenary Simon Mann who tried coup d’etats in Africa.
Griffiths grieved that the ICC has so far only tried black Africans, instead of delving on the real question – were men like his former client Charles Taylor guilty or not guilty? The law is a narrow net that nabs what it will. If one’s sheep are getting slaughtered at night, and the trap in the morning reveals hyena, can the hyena say, “Why have you not caught the leopard, yet it also kills your sheep?”
Griping that the UK funds the ICC more than any other country and so undermines the credibility of the court is farcical. It is like saying that if I invite my friends over for a goat-eating (pretext for pre-wedding fund raiser) and my best friend donates Sh1,000, while a distant relative gives Sh10,000, then the nuptials are being under-mined by the faraway relative.
ICC funding is not the Olympics, where London gets gold for giving the most. If another nation is feeling sufficiently philanthropic, let them give more, but let Griffiths not give grief to the goose that lays the most golden eggs for ICC. And then Courtenay Griffith, QC, became utterly fatuous in his personal arguments against Raila Odinga.
ICC outsourced evidence-gathering to intermediaries, he complained, who happen to be well known associates of the Premier. Really? Organisations like the KNHCR ought to have been excluded from this process, in spite of being on the ground, because people like my friend Hassan Omar once worked with the Prime Minister for the Second Liberation? Really?
The fact that Raila named his son Fidel Castro should give pause to the Brits about his capitalist credentials? This writer has a son called Trotsky, and I’m no Bolshevik. Balderdash are the arguments of Courtenay Griffith, QC, suffering from an advanced Austian Theory of Sovereignity – that somewhere, always, there is a master puppeteer controlling smaller nations from distant capitals – in this case, Nairobi (Raila) channelling London.
His argument that the Western educated Uhuru would have been Britain’s choice, if only they hadn’t incarcerated Jomo Kenyatta; yet every literate person in Kenya knows Jomo cut a Faustian deal with the Brits to let them keep their white highlands in return for Independence (with himself as President), and we have our settler community here, like Delamere, to show that Mzee Jomo was no Robert Mugabe.
No one has asked them to give up even one acre of land to accommodate IDPs. So Britain would be the last to fear Uhuru presidency! Talking of IDPs, rather than adopt Courtenay’s advice that the ICC case against Uhuru & Co be judicially reviewed, it is in the national interest that the trial must go on.
If the evidence is as thin as Griffiths says, then the Prosecution will collapse like a House of Cards. But the show must go on. Courtenay farther suggested the British Foreign Office invite all presidential candidates, not just Raila, to discuss policy in London. Ludicrous! Britain is not our Sovereign, it does not rule us, and if Raila or Kibaki go there in their official capacity, it does not give locus standi to non-principals to tag along.
Mr Griffiths finished his article on legs of sand. ‘Uhuru means ‘freedom’ in Swahili,’ he exulted, ‘and if he wins the election ... Kenya finally frees itself 50 years after Independence from the influence or obligation to its former colonial master.’