Today, April 16th, President Uhuru Kenyatta, the incumbent President of Kenya plans to host a thanksgiving service at the Nakaru stadium to express gratitude that the International Criminal Court (ICC) dropped it’s charges of ‘Crime Against Humanity’ against his deputy president, William Ruto and co-defendant Joshua arap Sang. Anyone who is not a supporter of Kenyatta or Ruto and understands the violence that marked the 2007 elections is sure to see this as a misplaced thanksgiving.
The Human Rights Watch yesterday released an article which supports this tag (misplaced thanksgiving) as they rightfully painted pictures of the deadly violence that rocked Kenya in the wake of the 2007 elections which led to charges against Kenyatta and Ruto and its lasting impact on the victims.
Charges against Kenyatta were dropped last year and Ruto’s this year and the President when referring to the latest closure described it as the end of “what has been a nightmare for my nation.” Now while supporters of Ruto and Kenyatta may agree with that sentiment and join wholeheartedly in the celebrations, the report sought to remind us that the nightmare for victims of that violence is still ongoing.
They speak about victims that they have interviewed, highlighting two aims for the interviews; a documentation of the horrific violence and documentation of the absence of justice in Kenya. For this reason, the ICC had become the only hope that they had for receiving justice. That hope however is as good as gone and though the misplaced thanksgiving may go on, their suffering will persist in the failure of the Kenyan government to provide medical care, psychosocial support and compensation, talk more of any accountability.
President Kenyatta meanwhile is yet to make good on a promised “restorative justice” fund for victims and one can only hope that no huge funds will be dispersed in the course of this particular celebration, for that betrayal will by no means be assuaged by the lip service to victims that will probably feature in the celebrations.