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From Nairobi, with love

By Caesar Zvayi
KENYANS went to the polls last week to elect leaders of their choice in a contest that drew interesting reactions from western countries that ended up tipping their hands about their meddlesome role in African politics.

Some western ambassadors behaved like contestants drawing a sharp rebuke from now president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta who warned them against meddling in Kenya's internal affairs.

Even after Uhuru swept to victory over Raila Odinga, the west's preferred man, western nations congratulated Kenya on the poll and avoided congratulating Uhuru Kenyatta.

Reuters reports that "Western diplomats have worked closely on co-ordinating their stances on Kenyatta. Statements from Brussels, London and Berlin all appeared to follow a similar formula and tiptoed around Kenyatta's name."

Uhuru - son to founding president Jomo Kenyatta battled it out with Odinga - the scion of founding vice president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. There were six other candidates whose vote tally was more or less less than the tally of spoilt ballots which came third after Uhuru and Odinga.

For many progressive people the world over, the most important outcome of the elections was the message that Kenyans sent to the West and its so-called International Criminal Court. A message that said we know our heroes and you can stuff your kangaroo court and its stereotypical 'justice' where the sun doesn't shine.

Some western countries had tried to use the ICC indictment to turn Uhuru into a politically ugly monster and Raila Odinga into a politically sexy contestant but Kenyans saw through the ugliness of the plot and the quisling nature of Odinga.

With a month to go before the Kenyan poll US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Johnnie Carson; who now walks with a slouch from bearing the burdens of empire, had the audacity to warn Kenyans of "consequences" if they voted for Kenyatta citing the ICC indictment.

Carson was to get his just desserts from an unlikely source, his predecessor Jendayi Frazer, who was the Bush administration's assistant secretary of state for African affairs between 2005 and 2009 who reminded him that the ICC was not a credible institution.

Speaking at a Washington think tank forum on Kenya's election on February 23, Jendayi said; "I am troubled by Johnnie Carson's statement that is essentially meddling in Kenya's election. It is very reckless and irresponsible, given that the election is very close, for us to try to intervene in Kenya's election decision. We should not be threatening Kenyans about their choice by pointing to an ICC case that is not proven. I think the ICC case against Uhuru Kenyatta is a weak one and is based on hearsay."

I hope Africa applauded Tendayi, sorry Jendayi, the long lost daughter who found her marbles over Kenya. Jendayi added that the legitimacy of the ICC was in question given that it is "a very manipulated institution, particularly by the West." A very poignant observation given that during its nine-year history, the ICC has only prosecuted developing world leaders leaving western criminals like George W. Bush and Tony Blair whose war crimes were even caught on camera, to walk scot free.

More so as Jendayi pointed out, the case against Uhuru Kenyatta was weak and based on a single witness drawn from Odinga's circle. It's quite amazing that Odinga; the man who rallied his supporters to the streets to protest his loss to Mwai Kibaki; was not indicted by the same ICC that chose to indict Uhuru based on hearsay.

This irony explains Uhuru's decision to play along with the ICC as he knows the case will fall flat on its face. And only on Monday this week, the ICC announced that it had dropped all charges against Uhuru's coaccused, the former head of the civil service Francis Muthaura.

ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda told the media at The Hague that the charges against Muthaura were dropped after a key witness in the case was discredited after confessing to "accepting bribes". Other witnesses were also reported to have refused to testify or had died.

Kenyans should thus be applauded for thumbing their noses at the so-called ICC indictment that is clearly collapsing like a deck of cards; and for turning a deaf ear to the utterances of Uncle Toms like Carson. Carson, ironically, appeared oblivious to the fact that his own country, the US, does not recognise the ICC.

The US has not ratified the Rome Statute that set up the kangaroo court although it is quick to want to profit from it. It was interesting to note that as the vote count gave Uhuru the lead, the ICC announced Uhuru and his co-accused would stand trial in May.

There are lessons to be learnt from the Kenyan scenario as we countdown to our own elections that come in the wake of an inclusive government similar to the one Kenyans had. Throughout the tenure of the coalition government Odinga proved to be a western puppet, a man without a mind of his own just like his friend here which is why despite enjoying Western support, he once again failed to put Kenya on the western dinner table for the third time. Uhuru's victory was a clear message to the western rabble-rousers that Africans will not take instructions from outsiders. They know who is for and against them.

Just like in the Kenyan case where some contestants were to be weighed down by ICC indictments, here the west has tried to convince us that the Zanu-PF leaders are scoundrels. This is on account of the illegal sanctions the West purports were targeted at Zanu-PF when we all know they targeted the entire country. Sanctions that the westerners imposed in a bid to influence voting patterns.

Voters should be alive to the role sanctions have played in the West's bid to "separate the Zimbabwean people from Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF" as former US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Chester Crocker put it during hearings for ZDERA in September 2001.

Secondly, as they did in Kenya, some western nations will try to destabilise our electoral process as they tried to do in Kenya. Already British ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert is on record saying the results of the forthcoming elections faced the risk of losing international credibility if western observers are barred from overseeing the process.

Ms Bronnert made the remarks in the wake of foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi's announcement that observers from countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe will not be invited to observe the harmonised elections.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should be commended for vigilance in the wake of its decision to restrict to five, the number of embassy officials to observe the referendum this Saturday. Thirdly as we saw in Kenya, candidates who carry a brief for outsiders will not accept the people's verdict without a fight as they try to atone for the millions they receive in western funding.

We saw Raila Odinga's running mate Kalonzo Musyoka try to rally his supporters into the streets as the vote count indicated that Uhuru was romping to victory.

Kenyans should, however, be commended for ignoring Musyoka's inflammatory utterances as any electoral disputes should be channelled to and settled in the courts of law. Let's hope Tsvangirai and company were watching and learning from the developments in Kenya.





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