Despite rumours and fears of violence, Kenyans observed peace even after charges against four senior figures were confirmed.
By Judy Kaberia in Nairobi
While most research companies have showed that more than half of Kenyans support the International Criminal Court (ICC) process, a section of the government was unhappy that cases against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Civil Service Amb Francis Muthaura were confirmed.
Attorney General (AG) Githu Muigai on Tuesday named a team of local and international legal experts following the President’s directive in which he asked the AG to set up a legal team to scrutinise the ICC verdict and give advice.
The government also planned to set up a division within the High Court to deal with offences of international nature.
The last minute attempts are signals that the government could be strengthening its admissibility challenge which the ICC has declined in the past.
It is also an indication that the government wants to try the four perpetrators to save them from the international court.
But this local procedure is unlikely to enjoy public confidence.
“Githu has failed us. He is constituting a multi-agency to restart investigations, what a joke! Uhuru and Muthauru are the ones perpetuating impunity. If they have any decency they should do the honorable thing and step aside. By the way even if they are found guilty they will never leave their positions. It is as if they are the only ones who can do that job,” one Nairobi resident told RNW.
Even with rising pressure from civil society for Muthaura and Kenyatta to resign, the AG maintained that they will stick to their positions until they exhaust their right of appeal.
All four have announced their intention to appeal against Monday's ruling.
A fiery political debate on whether Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto should give up their presidential ambitions is shaking the establishment.
Sympathisers of the accused are downcast while victims are more optimistic that there will be justice in the long run.
Eldoret where Ruto draws his support, maintained the peace though people were unhappy that charges against their MP were confirmed.
“There has been no violence, but it is obvious people here are not happy about this decision, inside them they have a lot of anger, but they cannot vent it,” Mathews Ndanyi told Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
What remains of concern is that about 5 years after the violence victims are living in fear despite their thirst for justice.
Most of them want to remain anonymous for the sake of their security.
A victim of the violence in a camp in Naivasha said there was calm even right after the decision, “On Monday most of us did not go to work, we were tense but after the decision things were ok. There is peace and we are now back to work. We are happy that at least there will be some justice when the four of them are convicted.”
He said though the internally displaced people are living impoverished lives because of the violence, some of them felt that charges against the four should not have been confirmed.
Njeri Njoroge had family members attacked in Kisumu in 2008. She feels the ICC will not bring justice to Kenya as it does not address issues affecting people at the lower level.
Njoroge, who could not hold back her emotions after the court decision, wanted the ICC to have more perpetrators subjected to the process.
“The decision did not affect us who are the ground people, it did not affect other perpetrators we know, because if the other perpetrators continue walking around we are still hurt, we are still bleeding,” she said.
Ecstatic Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and former Police Chief General Hussein Ali who were exonerated by the court, could not hide their joy as they told separate press conferences they were happy to have been cleared.
But civil society has meanwhile questioned Ali’s clearance over police killings during the post election violence.
James Gondi a human rights defender said Ali being cleared is a set back for the victims who suffered at the hands of the police.
“That is why we should start discussions on either having a special division of the high court or a special tribunal alongside the ICC decision,” he suggested.
Africa Centre for Open Governance Executive Director Gladwell Otieno said Ali being cleared should not in any way mean that police are clean.
“This is really a great concern. We still have to pursue the absolute root reform of the police force. We hope the message underlying is not that the Kenyan police force is okay. It’s not by a long shot. We need to have thorough vetting and accountability for the crimes committed by the police,” she asserted.
A victim in Kibera is unhappy that Ali was cleared, “I was raped by people in police uniform, how come there is no one to be held accountable for what the police did? They did not protect us, they wanted to kill us.”