It wasn’t me!

(First published online 12/11/10)

I was on my daily commute yesterday and the song playing in the matatu was Shaggy’s hit song, “It wasn’t me”. This got me thinking of William Ruto.

Deny, deny, deny and then deny again. This coupled with throwing accusations to all and sundry appears to be Ruto’s current strategy in the unfolding drama that involves him, the ICC and Kenya.

In case you have just landed from Mars and you are clueless about what I am talking about, let me fill you in. Eldoret North MP, William Ruto traveled to The Hague, the HQ of the International Criminal Court to “set the record straight” regarding accusations of him being a mastermind behind the Post-Election Violence.

Accompanied by his two lawyers, Katwa Kigen and Dr. Kindiki and together with his political confidant Belgut MP, Charles Keter, Ruto was in very high spirits as he departed. He engaged journalists in light banter and he was feted as a brave man for daring to go to The Hague and meet Ocampo. In typical Kenyan fashion an international crime suspect managed to look like a hero who was Hague-bound to receive an award.

Ruto’s spin machine was working overtime and we were told of meetings held with Ocampo until Ocampo’s office clarified that Ocampo was in London and Ruto and his team were only meeting ICC officials. For three days, Ruto was grilled extensively and despite the positive spin him and his team are trying to put across, it appears to me that The Hague trip did not go as planned.

Upon his return, Ruto is a changed man. I watched an interview of Ruto’s lawyer Katwa Kigen done immediately he landed from the Hague on Sunday Live on Citizen and his body language was quite revealing. The lawyer was both wary and angry. Ruto landed on Monday morning and in all the daily press briefings he has since held, he has been a man on the edge. His anger and fear are palatable.  Whatever happened in The Hague shook Ruto’s confidence.

Ruto is coming across as either a guilty man who has being cornered or an innocent man who has being totally framed. A man who feels a noose slowly tightening on his neck. Flashback to Ruto’s boast in a public rally early this year where he said the ICC process would take 90 years and who would be alive then? Clearly ICC is not like the commission of inquiries that these politicians are used to and it is finally dawning on him that this is SERIOUS!

Ruto is a consummate politician who is adept at playing the tribal and victim card and for the past one week he has managed to advance his agenda using the media. I’m disappointed by our media which has not realized that this is a legal rather than political story.

Ruto is employing an ad hominem argument which is where instead of tackling the issues you attack the character of those you are arguing with. In his case, he is attacking the credibility of the KNHCR witnesses and diverting attention from the crux of the matter which is Ruto is a suspect in the on-going ICC investigations in to the Post Election Violence.

Kenyans are easy to sway, have goldfish memories and they are very wrapped in tribal cocoons so it is possible that Ruto’s ruse may just work and folk will get distracted and forget the real issues. However, the ICC process cannot be wished away and Ruto and his fellow Post Election Violence suspects will certainly have their day in court. Impunity is obviously fighting back but whether it will win only time will tell.

I started with a song and I will end with a song.  Melanie C “Never be the same again” was a hit in Kenya several years back and I have a feeling it will be the theme song to happenings in Kenya in the last few weeks of 2010.

Ocampo and the ICC are coming and the guilty should be afraid, be very afraid.

Disclaimer: Ruto’s guilt or innocence is beyond the scope of my understanding. Any perception of either in this article is a figment of your imagination.



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