What you need to know:
- President and deputy use Mashujaa Day messages in Nairobi and Brussels to hit out strongly at ‘rich and powerful’ nations they accuse of being behind their tribulations at the International Criminal Court.
- And only four days after the ICC Trial Chamber allowed him to skip some sessions of his trial proceedings, sources in the President’s legal camp who spoke to the Nation in confidence said he was still pressing on with the UN Security Council option to postpone his trial for a year with the assistance of the African Union (AU).
President Kenyatta used Mashujaa Day celebrations in Nairobi to hit out strongly at Western nations over the International Criminal Court indictments.
His deputy, Mr William Ruto delivered a similar message at a gathering with Kenyans in Brussels, Belgium, where Kenyans in Europe met to mark the national holiday.
Although he did not directly mention the ICC, Mr Kenyatta called on Kenyans to reject all forms of domination and manipulation by foreign forces.
“Our forefathers rejected colonialism and imperial domination in their time.
We must honour their legacy and stay true to our heritage by rejecting all forms of domination and manipulation in our time,” he said at the Nyayo National Stadium.
He hit out at “powerful and rich” nations saying: “They may be powerful and rich, but so were the colonialists.
They may disrespect and even hate us; we have defeated their ilk before.”
Mr Kenyatta said the struggle to defend Kenya’s independence was a daily calling for all Kenyans “and all the people of Africa.”
The tough message, which comes just three weeks before Mr Kenyatta’s trial at the ICC begins on November 12 might serve as an indication that he is determined to keep up the international diplomatic offensive against the indictment.
And only four days after the ICC Trial Chamber allowed him to skip some sessions of his trial proceedings, sources in the President’s legal camp who spoke to the Nation in confidence said he was still pressing on with the UN Security Council option to postpone his trial for a year with the assistance of the African Union (AU).
The application for deferral is now in the hands of the UN Security Council.
Last week, the President dispatched Cabinet secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs), Najib Balala (Mining) and Fred Matiang’i (Information) to the Czech Republic, China and Russia respectively to lobby members of the UN Security Council who have veto powers to consider Kenya’s cases positively and defer his case.
Mr Kenyatta has in the past said there was no way that he and Mr Ruto would be away from the country at the same time.
The three Cabinet secretaries were sent on the diplomatic mission a few days after a special AU Summit in Ethiopia called on the UN Security Council to defer Mr Kenyatta’s trial.
The Council is expected to sit before his case opens on November 12. The AU also asked Mr Kenyatta not to attend the case if the Council would not have given a position on the Kenya trials before November 12.
The AU accused the ICC of targeting African leaders and threatened to make a major statement if its case for a deferral was not considered by the UN. The threat could imply that African countries could decide to sever ties with the ICC.
Sunday, Mr Kenyatta, who conveyed Mr Ruto’s greetings to the crowd said: “Najua kuna watu wengi huko wanatusumbuasumbua huko na mambo yao huko lakini sisi tumesimama imara na nataka kuwahakishia ya kwamba yale ni mambo ambayo yatapotea; huyo shetani mbaya atashindwa na Kenya itaendelea mbele
(I know there are some people who keep on troubling us but we are standing firm and I want to assure you that those are issues that will end.
That devil will be defeated and Kenya will forge ahead).
Mr Ruto, who missed his first Mashujaa Day celebrations since the Jubilee government came to power in March, has been attending sessions for his on-going case in The Hague. In Brussels Sunday, he too struck a defiant note, saying Kenyans would win despite the obstacles put before them by “neo-colonialists”.
“There will always be enemies of our independence doing all they can, within and outside acceptable frameworks, to undermine our Republic,” he said.
“However the sovereign will of the people of Kenya in the last General Election brought this sinister plan to nought.
To countermand the will of the people is neo-colonialistic and an abuse of freedom of choice, which is the basis for any democratic and sovereign nation.”
Protocol dictates that the Deputy President invites the President to give his address during national events, but due to Mr Ruto’s absence, the role was taken up by Sports, Cultures and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario.
Mr Wario chairs the National Organising Committee of [email protected], the celebration that is to stretch for a year to mark 50 years of Kenya’s independence.
Mr Kenyatta recalled that the cost of the independence struggle was painful because the colonialists did not consider Africans as equal.
Heroes were killed and imprisoned while the rest were stigmatised and hunted down like animals, he said.
“The brutality our independence heroes underwent from 20th October, 1952 until the attainment of self-government 10 years later defies imagination.
It is the reason that we have reverently emblazoned our national flag with the red of their sacred blood,” he said and saluted the sacrifice and heroism of the many Kenyans whose vision and conviction won the country freedom and sovereignty.
“Colonialism had stripped all Kenyans of their fundamental rights.
They had no land, and were considered inferior in their own home.
There was neither dignity nor freedom for Kenyans then,” the President said.