The perpetrators of the 2007 electoral conflict in Kenya are back.
After tactfully taking a sabbatical during the 2013 general elections, well because of the then International Criminal Court investigations into the Kenyan situation, the perpetrators of the heinous crimes committed during the violence are back into the country’s political limelight.
Following the recently held political party primaries, the alleged perpetrators have surprisingly won the hearts of their supposed followers, and their party leaders have unabashedly welcome them back to where they belong, to the Party of Electoral Violence (PEV).
A close glimpse of some of the nominated candidates across the political divide in the then violence hotspots of Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret, Molo, Mt. Elgon, Kisumu and Nairobi sends shivers to any Kenyan who has been interested in the pursuit of peace of this great nation.
Worse still, it is reported that militia groups have sprung up again in neighborhoods in these areas after having taken a cooling break in 2013. See the big picture?
The alleged perpetrators have camouflaged as peacemakers albeit the blood in their hands. They have found a soft landing in the pulpits where they previously preached ethnic hatred. They have even found airtime in the now ubiquitous television and radio airwaves as they advise their followers on how better devolution will work when they take charge of the counties, constituencies and wards. And yes, they have verified social media accounts where they command ethnic following!
The alleged perpetrators were found innocent, even before they were tried for the heinous crimes they committed, and are now free. Now that most of Kenyans have forgotten, and moved on, as always, the victims of the violence still cry for justice. The victims can still point to the perpetrators, but are afraid to open the never-healing wounds. The memories of the atrocities are still fresh in their minds as they can still identify that murderer, that rapist and that arsonist whose ring leader is now fully rinsed and back into the country’s political scene.
Thanks to the bungled ‘let’s not be vague let’s go The Hague’ International Criminal Court process and the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission process that was put into disrepute, the alleged perpetrators are now sanitized, and are breathing back into the limelight.
Evidently, the quest for justice for the victims of the electoral violence has faded down after the termination of the ICC cases. Worse still, the state is yet to commission the special division of the High Court to try international crimes and has instead only sanctioned the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to build peace in a now more ethnically and politically polarized nation.
The CIPEV Report (Waki Report) documents these perpetrators, including the key masterminds whose names are concealed in an envelope in The Hague. More so, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights succinctly documents these perpetrators with evidence in its report titled ‘On the brink of the Precipice’. In addition, the doctored TJRC report still isolates the key perpetrators of historical injustices including electoral violence. But what have we done as a nation? Have we called for the implementation of the recommendations in these reports? Have we even read these reports? As a people, we have chosen to blink over, as always, and are instead mobilizing towards building the Party of Electoral Violence.
As the country heads to elections in August 8, the signs are already written on the wall that violence is here with us, again. This time round, the violence is devolved into the counties, and the well-known perpetrators are back to execute what they know best – violence.
Muema Wambua, May 5, 2017, Machakos, Kenya