Pictures of Miguna's home in Nyando where villagers wanted to burn his effigy
Defiant Miguna Miguna at his book launch

By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 18, 2012

We wake up one cloudy July morning and suddenly we are twice hit by some political tsunami of sorts! We weigh our options trying to figure out which of the two earth breaking news is heavier than the other.

First things first; let us deal with the presidency before we come to pealing the mask.

The presidency is livid that their cherished County Commissioners are no more. One rogue and ungrateful judge of the High Court has thrown out the President’s wisely considered appointments of the 47 County Commissioners. In her ruling, the ungrateful judge grants prayers of some stubborn Civil Society activists that had challenged the President’s right to appoint such public officers without consulting his coalition partner and more importantly for failing to widely consult the public. What is more, the President forgot one little detail of gender balance in modern Kenya!

This news hits the presidency like a thunderbolt judging by the swift condemnation of the judgment from two top dogs in the office of the president. Whereas the bigger boss directs the AG to immediately appeal the ruling in a higher court, the junior officer publicly orders the commissioners to stay put as they are going nowhere; the court ruling notwithstanding.

As the news sinks in along the corridors of power, the AG feels livid. He comes out fighting. He reminds corridors of power that as the AG of the Republic of Kenya, the constitution grants him autonomy and independence in his decision making. He declares that he cannot and will not take any directive from anybody.

A few days later, the AG breaks his silence. He tells the presidency that in his opinion, appealing the judgment would be an exercise in futility. A higher court is likely to confirm the judgment.

For awhile the Kenyan public assumes that the good counsel of the learned Attorney General has settled the matter and that the commissioners should vacate office. The public is wrong again.

Out of the blues, the acting Minister for Internal Security joins in the fray. He instructs a private lawyer; not the AG, to appeal the judgment. At this point, the Justice Minister enters the fray and supports the judgment and reminds the presidency that judicial rulings must be respected. In this call to respect the courts, he is joined by none other than the Prime Minister and principal shareholder in the coalition government.

What is curious about this saga is that the presidency, the State Law Office, the ministries of Internal Security and Justice are all dockets of the PNU part of the coalition.

For the AG and the Justice Minister to differ with the President on a matter that is so dear to the presidency, their appointing authority, without any serious fallout has left Kenyans baffled.

This development can be seen in two ways. One is that democracy is indeed taking root in Kenya and as a consequence the overbearing powers of the President have been considerably diminished. The AG and the Justice Minister have given us hope that indeed one can disagree with the President on principle and on point of law without unnecessary bad blood and acrimony between the head of state and his cabinet ministers.

However, the flip side of this case tells us that Kenya is evolving its unique brand of democracy hardly practiced anywhere in the world. In mature democracies, such as the USA, Canada, Japan, India and even Britain and South Africa, such disagreements with the appointing authority would have ended up in the resignation or sacking of both the AG and the Justice Minister. Closer home, we have the resignations of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in 1966, Joseph Murumbi in 1966, Achieng’ Oneko in 1966, Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia in 1980s. Most recently we had Martha Karua resigning from the Kibaki regime after realizing that they were no longer reading from the same page.

The second big story of the week was that of Miguna Miguna’s book launch.
However, the book’s content was submerged in theatrics and uncalled for antics that the author engaged in during and after the launch.

Left on its own, the book would have received sober reviews from social critics. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

With the first salvo shot at the gun blazing author from Caroli Omondi of the Prime Minister’s office and a possible visit by the police commissioner to Miguna’s residence, Kenyans saw the bragging and haughty activist sneak out of the country with his entire family. And as if the pending law suits were not enough, his village mates in Ayweyo Nyando chose to deal with him on account of vilifying Prime Minister Raila Odinga both in his book and in public utterances. And as I wrote this article, Miguna Miguna was now for all practical purposes persona non grata in Luo Nyanza. If he chooses to go there now, he will need all the help of the riot place he can lay his hands on.

Miguna is not the first to run into high winds with rioting villagers in Nyanza. Raphael Tuju suffered the same fate way back in 2005 during the first constitutional referendum. His rally in Kisumu which advocated for the adoption of the 2005 constitution culminated in the death of one young man at the Nyayo stadium. It took him awhile before he could visit his Rarieda home without a hitch.

Whether right or wrong, Miguna should postpone going to Kisumu as long as possible for the sake of peace in that region. Luos are very forgiving and forgetful. A year from now, Miguna will surely walk freely in Nyanza. Who knows? He might even be elected something in Nyando!


Nkozasana Dlamini Zuma

By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi Kenya
July 18, 2012

Finally Madam Dlamini Zuma has won the coveted seat at the African Union headquarters. This position makes her the automatic continental spokeswoman in virtually every international forum. Without a doubt, the former South African Foreign Minister is now one of the most powerful women in the world.

This development comes hot on the heels of the Malawian Iron Lady, President Josephine Banda who has hardly been the Head of State for four months.

One may remember that soon after Josephine Banda was sworn in; she ran into high winds with the AU Secretariat when she warned that if Sudan’s president Omar El Bashir attended the AU Summit that was scheduled to take place in Lilongwe, she would order his arrest and hand him over to The Hague where the fugitive belongs.

Following this threat, the AU buckled and threatened to switch the Summit from Malawi to another country. This threat did not move the Iron Lady. And indeed when Jean Ping announced that the Summit would indeed be moved from Malawi to Addis Ababa, Madam President welcomed the move and went ahead to skip the Addis Ababa Summit. Instead she sent her foreign minister to the summit.

In AU politics, it is common knowledge that the more progressive democracies in Southern Africa are uncomfortable with their counterparts elsewhere in Africa who have made it their pastime bashing the International Criminal Court in The Hague as a colonial court. Specifically, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia are considered pro ICC. They have taken this common stand; notwithstanding the violent opposition from the Zimbabwean president, Bob Mugabe, who may be a potential ICC candidate in another life.

The campaign against the ICC in Africa has indeed been championed by Jean Ping of Gabon who, until last weekend was the AU Commission chairman.
In this mission, he found tacit support from Kenya under Kibaki, Libya under the late Muamar Gaddafi, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and a host of benign dictators and not so democratic rulers of the continent.

As the crisis raged about Bashir’s attending the summit in Malawi, Kenya brought another twist to the growing controversy. Suddenly the East African Legislative Assembly hurriedly passed a bill to transform the East African Court of Justice into an International Criminal Court with the approval of the bill at the EAC summit coming in quick succession. And before the AU summit was held, the item was quickly pushed through by Jean Ping as part of the 19th Summit’s agenda.

Because of these undercurrents, the politics at the AU became rather nasty in the last six months. It was the reason the election of the AU Commission chairman ended in a stalemate in January 2012. The anti-ICC forces wanted Jean Ping their man to continue with the mission for the next five years. In that time they would have done away with the ICC after setting up the African ICC.

Now that Dlamini Zuma, the woman who has no special empathy for an African Criminal Court is in the seat of power, will she succumb to the pressures of the AU heads of state opposed to the ICC or will she do them a Josephine Banda by rebuffing their attempts to exist from the ICC?

If Dlamini chooses not to push the anti-ICC agenda, chances are that she may simply ignore the agenda and concentrate more on issues that really affect the continent like solving conflicts in the DR Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Mali. More importantly, Dlamini may want to concentrate on food production to rid the continent of perennial hunger, famine and shame.

Looking at the AU summit composition; it is true it is still very gender imbalanced. As it is we have only two women heads of state and now the AU Commission chairperson. That means that in the next ten or so summits, we shall surely have three women voices in the plenary. The question is; can presidents Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia and Josephine Banda of Malawi join hands with Madam Dlamini to change the way business is conducted in Africa for the good of the continent?

Whatever the direction Dlamini steers the AU, one thing is clear. A few issues and individuals will be the casualties. First, Kenya’s hope of a regional criminal court to try Kenyans bound for The Hague may be dashed.

Omar El Bashir may suffer more setbacks in the near future with more and more AU member states shunning him. If they do, Bashir’s movements will be more restricted than ever before. Furthermore, if he realizes that the present AU chairman is less charming with him than the former CEO, chances are that Bashir will attend and less AU summits for fear of being arrested and handed over to The Hague.

However, it is too early to ascertain which direction Dlamini will go or what policy changes she may want to bring to the table. All we can do is to patiently wait for the next six months.


Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Photo/FILE

July 18 2012

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was in a Brussels hospital in a "critical" state Wednesday, several diplomatic sources told AFP, but the Ethiopian government denied he was unwell.

"He is in a critical state, his life is in danger," said a diplomat who asked not to be named.

In Addis Ababa, however, government spokesman Bereket Simon denied reports that the 57-year-old premier was ill.

"He is not in a critical state. He is in good condition," the spokesman told AFP.

In Brussels, the Ethiopian embassy refused comment. It had said earlier this week that reports he was being treated at a hospital were "false and wrong", and were a rumour created by "an interest group which has preoccupied itself in disseminating such untrue stories".

But several diplomats in Brussels said he had been undergoing regular treatment on a private basis at one of the city's major hospitals and had been in hospital for some days.

No information was available on his illness.

Questions surfaced about Meles's health when he missed a two-day African Union summit Sunday and Monday, apparently for the first time.

Meles's wife, herself a lawmaker, had declined to talk to reporters about her husband, who has been at the helm of the Horn of Africa nation since 1991.

One of last times Meles was seen in public was at the G20 meeting in Mexico on June 19.

Dozens of African heads of state visited Ethiopia for the summit, including newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the first to do so since an assassination attempt in Ethiopia on former president Hosni Mubarak in 1995.

Benin's president and current AU chairman Thomas Boni Yayi had said at the opening of the summit Saturday that the "unusual absence... cannot go unnoticed, because we know that Mr Meles is full of dynamism and leadership in our meetings".


Humanity in need of more than love, sweet love!

By James Hickey
July 18 2012

Anyone who has paid much attention to the world of late realizes that dire deeds are abundant, and precipitous disasters loom. More so than at any time since the 1930′s and ’40′s, the basic viability of human existence is in question. And, as crisis engenders emergency, and catastrophe leads to carnage, what we are to do about all of this ubiquitous calamity is, to say the least, far from obvious.

Part of the problem attendant on figuring what action to take lies in characterizing the central issues before us. A plethora of topics might serve as candidates. General concerns, like jobs and energy and environment, are, minimally, apt problems to consider; specific eventualities: such as the Fukushima meltdowns, the overlapping conflicts in Southwest Asia, murderous outrage in the vein of what happened to both Trayvon Martin and Troy Davis also rank high on many people’s tallies of key difficulties to ponder. Obviously, these sorts of lists could keep going, if not ad infinitum, then into the scores or hundreds of entries.

However, this humble correspondent conceives of the heart of the matter differently. Both pragmatism–in the sense of what will make a difference–and duty–in the sense of what we owe to ourselves and each other–guide this estimate.

A question, complicated as are all the interlinked items to think about, serves to introduce this core conjunction. To wit:
How are the common citizens of the world to gain, first, the knowledge and capacity, and, then, the organizational potency, to assume responsibility and command in transforming the current crisis for the benefit of themselves and their immediate and extended families, the vast majority of benighted human cousins who occupy the planet?

Now, this humble correspondent can almost hear the likely initial response to this interrogatory. “Do what?!?”
Before proceeding to explicate and justify the query, though, let’s just state an underlying assertion clearly. This question is more important than any other item on folks’ agendas.
It’s more important than who wins this or any other election.
It’s more important than ‘Peak Oil.’
It’s more important than stopping any of the many wars now afflicting us.
It’s more important than any court decision or legal or policy matter.
It’s more important than ending brutality against women or any other group.
It’s more important than the economy.
It’s more important than the incarceration of tens of millions of people.
Whatever the issue, it’s more important.

Again, before dealing with what the above question implies, this premise of preeminence requires a brief defense.

The basic rationale is simple to state. Only an organized and empowered citizenry can have even the slightest hope of addressing successfully any of the above points, let alone trying to tackle all of them, every one of which is in fact critically important. Thus, before we worry about any seemingly most crucial group of predicaments: discrimination or bigotry; nuclear or conventional weapons proliferation; the ‘War-on-Drugs’ or the Prison-Industrial-Complex and its deleterious impacts on people; the Citizens United ruling or other forms of electoral fraud or theft or overreaching; anything–we must first address the dilemma of a disempowered, disorganized, inchoate populace.

Of course, this reasoning in turn presupposes that democracy is a valid goal in its own right, either thinking along the lines of Churchill that “everything else is so much worse” or along the lines of Jefferson that majority-rule is the necessary state of civilized human existence. However, most readers would be willing to stipulate this assumption. Even those who in their hearts despise turning over rule to the ‘unwashed masses’ presently find politic a nod in the direction of democracy.

Therefore, we can now turn to the original inquiry, the elucidation of which is the primary purpose of this essay. The conclusion to which this discussion leads is substantial in its scope and thrust. Basically, the situation comes down to this: without grassroots organization and empowerment, homo sapiens are either ‘toast’ or facing a future of concentration camps and mass slaughter. Such stakes ought to make anyone want to achieve an understanding of the ‘rules of the game,’ as it were. Here goes.


The basic meaning of the complex interrogative sentence that is at the heart of this essay is straightforward. That’s merely a matter of breaking down phrases and clauses that currently conjoin into their own more simple sentences. Shifting from the interrogative to the declarative mode brings the overall implications to light.

Here’s a take on such a ‘translation.’ ‘The world’s average working people need to unite, not remain isolated and divided. Certain sorts of knowledge–about political economy, history, and social relations particularly–is currently missing, and yet essential to this consciousness that supports unity. Similarly, certain capacities–often technical, scientific, or logistical in nature–are also absent but critical. An organizational combination of this consciousness and ability must occur, permitting networks of wage-earners to form.

In sodoing, these networks need to contend for the power to transform the world and take control of the political and economic spheres. This transformation must happen for the benefit of workers: “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The numerical preponderance of modern proletarians ought to make this whole process plausible.’
And voila, the importance of the inquiry should be clear. The rationale for propounding such meanings is less simple. However, equally clear goals and objectives, part of a ‘strategy for human survival,’ do underpin the thinking contained in the question.


The original inquiry starts out by stressing one sector, albeit far and away the largest, portion of humanity. Often enough, politicos and marketers hypocritically underscore their schemes in like fashion; and just as frequently, romantic and idealistic folks allude to ‘salt-of-the-earth’ needs and involvement.

Here, however, the basis for this emphasis is purely pragmatic. Since money and its numerous mandates cannot continue in charge if the bullet-point list above moves along a ‘progressive’ or socially democratic route, the present ruling class will never voluntarily incline itself in such a direction.
Similarly, the powers-that-be cannot maintain their sway if democracy prevails in action. The point fits in with a popular idiom of ‘protest’ for the past half century of so. “The people, united, will never be defeated,” or “El pueblo, unido, jamas sera vencido.” Just as these notions resonate with vitality, so too the obverse ought to make sense. “Divided, the people must fail,” or “dividido, el pueblo fallará.”


Action seems so essential that taking the time to learn may appear to embrace a ‘paralysis of analysis.’ However, without key knowledge sets and skills, all action will, as if by some kind of black magic, end up with things just as they were before we acted.

In relation especially to history, political economy, and social relations, this situation of ignorance is so patently ludicrous as to be truly hilarious, as if we were to get a call in the middle of night from a friend: “How do I get to Portland?” comes crackling over the airwaves.
Just awakened, we puzzle at this. Perhaps we clear our throats and scratch our heads. Perhaps we check to see where the call is coming from; and then we ask the obvious. “Well where are you?”
“I don’t know,” comes the jovially ignorant retort, “but I’d like you to give me good directions anyway.” Golly, but if we don’t know where we are, how in hell are we going to get where we want to go? And in life, ‘knowing where one is’ means knowing the past that has produced the present. It means knowing about the fraud of ‘free markets’ and the lie of ‘laissez faire.’ It means understanding the class nature of society. This consciousness, or ‘knowledge and capacity,’ thus lie close to the core of finding ways to accomplish social, political or economic shifts.


Modern human culture is awash in ‘groups’ of different sorts. So why we must concern ourselves with yet another manifestation of such collective reasoning and activity?

Two points are apt here. The first concerns the vaunted ‘individualism‘ that is perhaps the most forceful trope of modern American indoctrination. Simply put, none of us are ‘individuals’ in the self-made, self-sufficient sense that such propaganda propagates. Starting with what Ma and Pa do to get us launched, and continuing through caregivers and collaborators from cradle to grave, each of us is a cooperative enterprise. This humble correspondent will soon write more about this, so for now, this much will just have to do.

The second feature to ponder at this juncture is how decisive the overall orientation is, to a conscious grassroots empowerment undertaking. Given that such an interpretation has any persuasive resonance whatsoever, then joining forces, absolutely impossible without some systematic cohesiveness, has to appear not only sensible but also imperative.


Almost the entire planet depends on representation of some sort. Why this has become less and less sufficient has at least a pair of aspects, one resulting from a push, the other from a pull.
The root of what pushes us toward direct involvement is both that our representatives have so consistently failed us and that mechanisms of accountability are at best cumbersome. This humble correspondent will write next about the origins and purposes of the ‘American-as-apple-pie’ two party system to develop this contention more fully.

What pulls us, on the other hand, is that the techniques and technologies that permit participation have reached such a high point of development. The World Wide Web and the pervasive ‘self-improvement’ industry are just two clear examples of this material basis for people to take charge and act in their own behalf.


“Change we can believe in” hasn’t worked out too well so far. The notion of change itself is slippery, and this humble correspondent would join those who doubt the potential that any fundamental ‘change’ in anything can ever take place.

Again, this is a deep subject, and we haven’t time or desire or necessity, as it were, of digging a well just now. However, thinking in both evolutionary and revolutionary developments–in other words in terms of both reformist and radical approaches to political practice, the noun ‘transformation’ perfects what people must engage in if they are to accomplish their own and their progeny’s salvation, so to speak.


In the hideous pass that presently prevails, nepotism and self-centeredness seem such an integral part of things that all thoughts of ‘self-interest’ or selfishness may seem suspect. A single argument is enough, for present aims, to justify this element of the original question.

That simple point is that all working people face substantially similar–very often exactly the same–sinister sets of traps and tricks and machinations of the moneyed set that any effort to support ‘themselves and their kin’ inevitably redounds to the benefits of their cousins similarly situated. Only such idiocies as nationalism, or other forms of chauvinism, stand in the way of this cognizance.

Life expectancy is higher; more children survive infancy; primary education is accessible to 80-90% of humanity; most other indexes of quality-of-life suggest that conceptions of any actual ‘good old days’ are a fraud. Yet, at the same time, one may very rationally speak of the overwhelming majority of people–certainly more than three quarters and quite possibly upwards of nine out of ten–as oppressively deprived.

The deprivation is a matter of comparative quality rather than absolute quantity. When one examines most of the same indexes of quality-of-life, which establish the quantitative superiority of present-day expectations, vis-a-vis any period in the past, one discovers qualitative differences that range from a breach to a gulf. Such differences separate from almost any working person those whose wealth and income place them in the top one percent of property owners and earners.

Health, education, stability of social relationships, political participation, satisfaction with self and society, and more are arguably as far apart, and occasionally much further apart, than the same sorts of differences during the Roman, medieval, or Renaissance periods, for instance. Furthermore, one may cogently posit that only through disempowering those who rule and empowering those who follow them can any sizeable alteration happen to make the distribution of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ more equable, equitable, and balanced.


Quite probably, this introductory set of ideas barely advances us more than a single step. However, that step, however modest it is as a solitary stride, may be an essential one. In similar vein, a bit of salt added to a stew is only one ingredient, and yet the final product may taste markedly different lacking that addition. Or, as in a case when experimenters might choose to leave out important initial components of a complex mechanism, the entire process of the mechanism’s operation could fail as a result.

No doubt, a mere possibility in theory cannot prove any specific case. On the other hand, one may readily imagine intuitive, conceptual, and empirical assessments which would throw a favorable light on the idea that enabling the presently less-than-fully enfranchised is a key prerequisite of political reform, social progress, or even human survival.

If a viewpoint like that which shows up here has even a small degree of plausibility, it must be worthwhile to investigate it, at least so long as humanity’s potential to thrive makes any difference. For certain, a century or more of ‘reform’ has yielded little fundamental shifting of core relations and dynamics among life’s actors. For certain, ‘common folk’ have had little or no chance to play leading roles as one set of failed ‘improvements’ has replaced another. For certain, huge dilemmas confront our kind on our home planet.

Under circumstances such as these, capacitating the ‘beneficiaries’ of these seemingly never-ending reformist tendencies–activating the passive so that they become participants in shaping and implementing policy–could easily be a key component in successfully negotiating transformation. An approach of this sort would be a ‘no-brainer’ but for the powerful constituencies arrayed against it. At absolute minimum, a playful attitude of exploring the possible would dictate the operationalization of grassroots facilitation and participation.

In any case, such is the proposition that this humble correspondent promulgates. Its primary expression in this narrative is in the form of a rambling question. To repeat, then: How are the common citizens of the world to gain, first, the knowledge and capacity, and, then, the organizational potency, to assume responsibility and command in transforming the current crisis for the benefit of themselves and their immediate and extended families, the vast majority of benighted human cousins who occupy the planet? Inquiring minds would like to know.


Keraiko Tobiko the DPP

Posted Monday,
July 16 2012 at 16:41

The Director of Public Prosecution has asked Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere to summon Miguna Miguna to record a statement over his claims to have evidence on Kenya's post-election violence and ICC trials.

Speaking at the launch of his book, Peeling Back the Mask, on Saturday, Mr Miguna said he was privy to the ODM campaign strategies and was present when the party declared that the 2007 General Election was a contest of 41 tribes against one.

“I can take every leader to The Hague, they should actually kiss my feet... They actually begged me to go back to office when they knew that I could spill the beans,” he said in Nairobi.


South Africa Lobbied Doggedly for Its Home Affairs Minister to Win Post, Alienating Some Nations

The Wall Street Journal

South Africa's home affairs minister was elected Sunday to lead the African Union, capping a months-long campaign that aimed to expand the government's diplomatic role on the continent but risked sowing divisions among other African countries.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

, an experienced diplomat and President Jacob Zuma's former wife, was chosen Sunday by the pan-African bloc's 54 member countries to serve a four-year term as chairwoman of the African Union's commission, its executive arm.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's home affairs minister, was elected to head the African Union after four rounds of voting Sunday.

South African officials lobbied aggressively for Ms. Dlamini-Zuma despite an informal arrangement that the chairmanship be held by one of Africa's smaller nations. Their hope is that her victory will lend more diplomatic heft to the African Union, which has appeared divided and weak in recent crises in the Ivory Coast and Libya. In both cases, military force prevailed over diplomatic solutions.

"Many within government really believe they can make a difference, that Ms. Zuma can make a contribution to making the AU a more effective organization," said Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, national director of the South African Institute of International Affairs.

A stable democracy and the continent's largest economy, South Africa occupies a powerful position among other African nations. But the country's campaign to win the AU leadership role created sharp differences among the continent's top leaders.

"I think there have been more people disappointed by this than myself," Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said in an interview in England several days before the vote. "You can hear the echoes all over saying they should probably have contributed to stability rather than contributing to having a divided continent on the basis of who becomes the chair."

South Africa's dogged pursuit of the AU post is the latest diplomatic prize Pretoria has pursued.

In 2011, South Africa joined Brazil, Russia India and China in the Brics club of major emerging economies—even though it's slow-growing economy is a fraction of the size compared to others in the club and could soon be surpassed by Nigeria. South Africa also started a two-year stint on the United Nations Security Council last year and is among the nations jockeying for a permanent seat on the council if it is reconfigured.

But the country has been criticized for controversial and sometimes inconsistent stances. When civilians came under fire from Col. Gadhafi's troops, South Africa and other Security Council members supported a resolution imposing a no-fly zone. President Zuma later said he rejected "foreign military intervention, whatever its form," echoing a different African Union position. Mr. Zuma also angered some Western powers with support for Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, long after he was declared by the U.N. to have lost last year's presidential vote to challenger Alassane Ouattara.

Ms. Dlamini-Zuma was elected the AU's new chairwoman Sunday in the fourth round of voting by AU member countries gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She had a narrow lead over the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, through the first three rounds and reached the required two-thirds majority with 37 votes in the fourth round.

Ms. Dlamini-Zuma first challenged Mr. Ping for the post at a previous AU summit in January. Neither candidate received the required support of two-thirds of AU members, prompting Sunday's runoff.

—Alexis Flynn contributed to this article.
Write to Patrick McGroarty at

A version of this article appeared July 16, 2012, on page A14 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: African Union Elects New Leader.


DRC Rebel Soldiers
DRC Government Soldiers patroling the city

Source: Dr. Frank Okuthe
Executive Director,
July 15 2012

 We, Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the Headquarters of the African Union on 15th July 2012, in the margins of the 19th Ordinary Session of the African Union Meeting (15–16 July 2012), on the security situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with the view to consolidating peace, security and development in the Great Lakes Region;

 Having considered the report from the Extraordinary Meeting of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC) of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region held in Addis Ababa on 11th July 2012 at the Headquarters of the African Union on the security situation in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo;

 Cognisant of the gravity of the security and humanitarian situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the fact that it constitutes a serious threat to peace, security, stability and development in the entire Great Lakes Region;

 Aware of the persistence of the negative forces and armed groups in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo;

 Mindful of our commitment as expressed in the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region of 20th November 2004, stating our “collective determination to transform the Great Lakes Region into a space of sustainable peace and security for States and peoples, political and social stability, shared growth and development, a space of cooperation based on the strategies and policies of convergence within the framework of a common destiny which we are determined to build..”

 Acknowledging the firm commitments made by the Heads of State of the Great Lakes Region in the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region on 15th December 2006 and its Protocols, specifically the Protocol on Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence in the Great Lakes Region;

 Evoking the decision made during the 4th Ordinary Summit of the ICGLR Heads of State in Kampala on 15th and 16th December 2011 to eradicate existing armed groups in the Region in conformity with the ICGLR Protocol on Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence:

DO HEREBY decide as follows:

1. Approve and endorse the decisions of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC);

2. Condemn in the strongest terms the actions of the M23 and other Negative Forces operating in the Region and support the efforts deployed by the Government of the DRC for the restoration of peace and security in the North Kivu Province.

3. Condemn in the strongest terms the continued and unfettered activities of the FDLR and call for immediate military action to eradicate this threat.

4. Direct the appropriate structures of the ICGLR to work with the AU and the UN for an immediate establishment of a neutral International Force to eradicate M23, FDLR and all other Negative Forces in Eastern DRC and patrol and secure the Border Zones.

5. Direct the ICGLR Ministers of Defence to reconvene in the shortest possible time to review, oversee and fast track the implementation of the decisions on negative forces in the Great Lakes Region made during their meeting in Kigali on 9 September 2011.

6. Demand that the Negative Forces, in particular M23, immediately stop armed activities and no support should be given to any Negative Force to destabilize the Region and Eastern Congo in particular.

7. Call upon the ICGLR Member States to fully implement the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region and in particular the Protocol on Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence in the Great Lakes Region.

8. Urge the Governments of DRC and Rwanda to fully implement their existing bilateral mechanisms in addressing the insecurity in the East of DRC and specifically the full operationalisation of the Joint Verification Mechanism and should open up the latter to other Member States.

9. Call upon the International Community to provide, as a matter of urgency, an appropriate humanitarian support to victims of violence in the Eastern DRC, especially in the North Kivu Province, and extend assistance to the victims wherever they maybe.

10. Urge the Officials in Member States of the Great Lakes Region to ensure that their actions, behaviour, speeches, public statements, contributions and any other utterances be inscribed in the logic of peace, security and stability and be artisans and promoters of peace.

11. To immediately establish a Follow-up Mechanism by the revival of the Team of Special Envoys namely H.E. Benjamin Mkapa and H.E. General Olusegun Obasanjo to address the root causes of the problem of insecurity in Eastern DRC and propose a sustainable solution. The Secretary General of the UN is requested to facilitate the exercise.

12. To set up an Ad-Hoc Group of Experts composed of six independent experts as per Article 25 of the Pact that would prepare and submit a report on Eastern DRC to the next RIMC Meeting.

13. To direct the ICGLR Secretariat to follow up on the implementation of the decisions of this Extraordinary Summit and provide regular reports thereof to the Chairperson of the ICGLR.

14. To urge the Member States to urgently pay their annual contributions to the Secretariat to facilitate the work of ICGLR.

15. To convene an Extraordinary Summit on 6th and 7th August 2012 in Kampala, Uganda on the Security situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the shortest possible time. Consultations on the dates to be decided through consultations between the respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Member States.
Done in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 11th July 2012

2…H.E. FRANÇOIS BOZIZE,Central African Republic…


By Pascal Fletcher and Aaron Maasho
Sat Jul 14, 2012
Africa faces a serious threat from al Qaeda and its allies trying to set up a sanctuary in northern Mali, African leaders said on Saturday as they pondered political and military strategies aimed at reuniting the divided West African state.

The leaders meeting at the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa are seeking to resolve messy aftermaths of military coups this year in Mali and Guinea-Bissau which have put blots on the continent's democratic credentials after advances in stability and governance in recent years.

They are also seeking to reconcile feuding neighbors Sudan and South Sudan after the latter's independence last year split what used to be Sub-Saharan Africa's largest country.

But one factor distracting the African heads of state from the continent's serious security and development challenges is a bruising contest over who should head the AU Commission, which steers the regional diplomatic body.

The standoff, which has broadly split Africa's French- and English-speaking blocs into two camps, pits South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma against incumbent Jean Ping from Gabon and risks dominating the weekend summit in Addis Ababa.

At a meeting of the AU's Peace and Security Council on Saturday, the presidents worked to flesh out a plan to deal with Mali, where al Qaeda-linked local and foreign jihadists have seized control of the largely desert north after hijacking a rebellion by secular Tuareg separatists earlier this year.

Ivory Coast President
Alassane Ouattara

, chairing the security council, condemned what he called "the intention of terrorist groups to create a sanctuary in northern Mali".

Denouncing alleged links between al Qaeda in the Sahel region and other violent radical Islamist groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and al Shabaab in Somalia, Ouattara said this posed "a serious threat to regional security".

African leaders are seeking U.N. Security Council support for military intervention in Mali to end the rebellion in the north and reunite the Sahel state, which was split after a March 22 military coup in the capital Bamako.

The Security Council has endorsed West African efforts to end the unrest in Mali but has stopped short of backing a military operation until African leaders can clearly spell out its objectives and how it would be carried out.

"For the moment, nothing is ready," one European diplomat, who follows the region closely, said.

Urging the AU to urgently develop a clear strategy for Mali, AU commission chief Ping called it "one of the most serious crises to confront the continent".

The AU's peace and security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said on Friday the African body was giving priority to finding a peaceful political solution in Mali but was preparing for a military intervention "as a last resort".

Negotiating efforts have focused on fully handing back power in the southern half of Mali to a civilian government, although Ouattara said these moves were still being "disturbed" by the same military elements who carried out the March 22 coup.

Ouattara repeated the AU position that there would be no negotiations with "terrorist groups" in northern Mali, although some dialogue has been held with secular Tuareg separatists and leaders of the local Islamist Ansar Dine insurgent group.


The AU's current chairman, Benin President Yayi Boni, urged the continent's leaders to resolve the security and governance problems in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, saying they acted as a distraction from the more strategic task of delivering economic growth and development to Africa's people.

"Without peace, there can be no development," Boni said.

But even as the African leaders considered the region's problems, their work was overshadowed by the AU Commission leadership race. This has remained deadlocked since a January summit vote ended in stalemate between the candidacies of Gabon's Ping and South Africa's Dlamini-Zuma.

With Ping carrying the broad support of Africa's French-speaking states, and English-speaking states in southern Africa lining up behind Pretoria's candidate, the continental body risks a division that could affect its global credibility and crisis-handling capacity if it persists, diplomats said.

As the debate over the leadership contest swirled in the corridors of the AU's soaring Chinese-built steel and glass headquarters, rumors of compromise candidates to break the deadlock appeared as thick, fast and numerous as the boxy blue Soviet Lada taxis that crowd Addis Ababa's streets.

"It's hard to get to the truth of this," lamented Uganda's state minister for foreign affairs, Henry Okello. He was confident that the AU meeting could finally choose a new commission head, but he stressed "it should be a person that does not polarize".

There were hopes too that Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, could meet at the summit to revive faltering talks. The neighbors came close to war in April after they clashed over undefined borders and the sharing out of oil revenues.

(Reporting By Pascal Fletcher and Aaron Maasho; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)


Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

14 JULY 2012

ZAMBIA'S Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda is confident that the position of African Union (AU) Commission chairperson will this time around go to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Mr Lubinda, who is representing President Michael Sata, said in an interview yesterday that the Southern African region had so far made four attempts at assuming the chairmanship of the AU.

"SADC is very clear on the elections and after 49 years we want the AU to be led by someone from the Southern region," he said.

On Thursday evening the SADC, through Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister, Phandu Skelemani condemned the use of AU funds for campaigns by current AU Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping.

Dr Ping is being challenged by South Africa's Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the AU's chief executive position, which is a full-time job.

The elections are expected to be held today or tomorrow as part of the 19th AU Summit of Heads of State and Government.

Mr Lubinda said the AU had in the past been led by individuals from West, Central and Eastern Africa while the North and Southern regions have not had chance to lead the institution.

He said that the Southern region had made four attempts from 1974 when Zambia's Vernon Mwaanga contested the elections while the Northern region had never made any attempt.

On arguments that the AU could not be led by someone from South Africa because it was believed to be a super-power in Africa, Mr Lubinda said the issue could not stand because someone from Nigeria had in the past been AU chairperson.

He said it was not in order that SADC was being accused of being divisive just because it wanted someone from the region to head the AU.

The allegation, he said, was against the AU values.

Mr Lubinda also said that the Council of Ministers also discussed the 2013 AU budget although Zambia raised questions on the presentation without the 2011 audited financial report.

He said that he also questioned the US$50 million that appeared in the budget without any allocation.


One of the Artur Brothers
Felicien Kabuga

By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 11, 2012

Felicien Kabuga is a Rwandese fugitive on the run. He has been at it for the past 18 years. With a Ksh 400 million bounty placed on his head by the Americans, this man can only rival the late Osama Bin Laden in value.

The story of Kabuga and the successive Kenyan regimes is an interesting one.
If one considers that Kabuga was one of the movers of Africa’s deadliest genocide way back in 1994; and assuming that this criminal has been hiding in Kenya ever since as alleged, then it means he was in Kenya for at least eight years under Moi’s regime. And, considering that President Kibaki has been in power for close to ten years, one can deduce that both presidents, both regimes share the blame for harboring a criminal of that crude nature.

Assuming that all these years, Felicien Kabuga has been in hiding in Kenya, a country that is a senior member of the EAC, then who is hiding him and for what? How can one criminal no matter how wealthy convince two different regimes for over two decades to give him cover? Did he part with so much money to strategic personalities that have served the two regimes such that it is now so difficult to either hand him over to the international criminal court without spilling the beans or even eliminate him? Is Kabuga blackmailing people who gave him protection in the first place?

But perhaps our penchant for hobnobbing with criminals should not come as a surprise to many observers. We are all aware of our past escapades with a number of criminals within our borders. We never seem to see anything wrong in having business deals with known characters of the underworld.

Take the case of the present Al Shabaab menace. For a long time the world rumored that there was so much unaccountable foreign exchange flowing into Kenya either from Al Shabaab financiers or pirates operating along the Somali coastline. The authorities that should have raised hell kept mum. Only years after conceding ground to these criminals did we realize what we had found ourselves in!
The terrorists started hitting us right here on our soil on account of being friends of the Americans. Had we sealed our borders to dirty money finding its way into our borders that criminal gangs wanted to legitimize; we would today not be fighting Al Shabaabs in Somalia. Had we taken a hard line stand against terrorist agents and unwanted guests across our borders the way Ethiopians, Tanzanians and Ugandans did, we would today not be suffering terrorist casualties as regularly as we do.

Soon after Felicien Kabuga had been in Kenya for at least 10 years, Kenya played host to two known drug lords- the Artur brothers for a good six months. Unlike Kabuga, they were a pair of arrogant bling bling low grade thugs hat strolled our streets and VIP airport lounges at will, occasionally receiving red carpet treatment.

Here was a pair of international criminals that we even unprocedurally bestowed upon the titles of Assistant Commissioners of police, allowed to drive around in government vehicles, import goods and guns duty free and even threaten to shoot any customs official who dared to question them.

Believed to have been untouchable due to their connections with the highest powers in the government, the pair had access to all government facilities including State House. It was even believed that the same Artur brothers were the masterminds of the Standard media raid in 2006 which was later justified by the then Internal Security Minister, the late John Michuki.

When it was no longer possible to contain public anger at these buffoons, the government bought them first class tickets to leave the country. What was discovered in their wake was total embarrassment to the government. A cover up commission of inquiry set up by the President to investigate the activities of these criminals is yet to be made public eight years later.

For many years, it has been rumored that Malindi town in the coastal region of Mombasa has been a safe haven for Italian criminals who have run away from prosecution back home to buy land and build villas. These seemingly wealthy foreigners have been accused of abetting child prostitution and drug dealing yet the Kenyan authorities have taken a lenient approach if not indifference to the complaints of the local community in the coast region.

Kenya’s handling of Omar El Bashir’s case in another example of our dalliance with criminals. We have never seen it fit to shun individuals accused of crimes against humanity. We have found it easy to stand shoulder to shoulder with Bashir the international fugitive as the spirits of the dead cry for justice in Darfur.

Closer home, our own four brothers accused of crimes against humanity on our own soil has seen a concerted effort by the government to protect them from prosecution at The Hague. The amount of resources we have spent trying to convince the AU and the United Nations to defer their cases has been mind boggling.

Need we wonder that Felicien Kabuga is still being shielded in Kenya?

The tragedy is; we have so much more to lose by going to bed with criminals than exposing and punishing them.


Juma Kandie
10:47 AM (4 hours ago)

Good Morning Jerry,

Thank you for your informative and incisive article in today's edition of the star. The article raises serious questions on our national ego and diginity as a people.

There is another which could actually be more serious. Do we give immunity to criminals who could disguise themselves as working for international agencies? Do we actually know these people.

I have attached here information where a kenyan female employee is physically attacked in the office by a foregner and the person is left scot free under the guise of immunity. where do the kenyans get protection then if foreigners working in international agencies can attack them at will in their own office in kenyan soil?.The foreigner is not a civil servant accredted by his country.

He is an employee of the institution and the immunity he is claiming is under the host country agreement, given by the Kenya Government. Can a Government, anywhere in the world give immunity to people who commit criminal acts.This issue raises serious questions on our national ego, constitution and security. You can contact the police or Foreign affairs for clarification.
Kind regards.

Juma Kandie


On the left is Dr. Frank Okunthe, Executive Director of the ICGLR Levy Mwanawasa Regional Center of Excellence and Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board

Tuesday 10 July 2012
Material Released By Dr. Frank Okuthe

Kigali, 29th June, 2012. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), represented by the Chief Executive Officer Prof. Anastase Shyaka on the one part, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education based in Lusaka, Zambia, represented by the Executive Director Dr. Frank Okuthe on the other part.

The MoU provides a framework for cooperation between the two institutions in all activities especially those that seek to promote Good Governance and Democracy, Peace and Security and Capacity Building of partner institutions including public, private and civil society organizations in Rwanda and ICGLR Member States.

The MoU will also enable signatory parties to contribute to the promotion of activities and policy intended to ensuring the implementation of framework aimed at preventing and fighting sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

As far as implementation is concerned, the Parties will use different approaches, namely conducting research activities and analysis on existing policies and practices; undertake capacity building activities to strengthen Rwandan Actors and Institutions; monitor the implementation of ICGLR Protocols as well as facilitating multi-actor dialogue between Rwandan and Regional Stakeholders.

The MoU comes in the wake of the highly successful International Conference on Governance and Democracy which took place in Kigali from 28th to 30th June, 2012 prior to the 50th celebrations of Rwanda’s independence. According to Prof. Anastase Shyaka, “..the two parties would liket to take the appreciation of measuring governance to a higher level”, adding that “we also want to use scientific and objective approaches to the analysis of democracy and governance in the Region”.

A need for practical actions is indeed a joint commitment as reiterated by Dr. Frank Okuthe: “We are moving from theory to practice, we want to walk the talk!”.


Letter from African Civil Society and International Organizations on the Relationship between the ICC and the AU

By Human Rights Watch
JULY 5, 2012

AU Building in Addis Ababa

Dear African Foreign Ministers,

On the occasion of the 19th summit of the African Union, which will be held in Addis Ababa from July 9-16, 2012, African civil society organizations and international organizations with a presence in Africa write to address Your Excellencies on events that surround the relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Union (AU).

Efforts by the AU and African states to fight impunity

The African Union has made a commitment to ending impunity, as enshrined in its Constitutive Act (Article 4(h)(o)), and has illustrated this commitment on different occasions. Notably, in 2006 and 2007, at an AU meeting of heads of state in Addis Ababa, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s bid to become the AU chairperson was rejected due to the atrocities that were occurring in Darfur, Sudan. More recently, the AU deployed 5,000 troops to pursue Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army, who is wanted by the ICC for crimes committed in northern Uganda.The AU has also played a key role in pressing Senegal to investigate and prosecute Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, for serious crimes.

Beyond the AU forum, individual African states have independently reaffirmed their commitments to ending impunity. This includes the requests by the governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Côte d’Ivoire to the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes committed in their countries.

A number of African states have incorporated genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and cooperation with the ICC into their domestic law. Mauritius adopted such legislation in 2012, and other countries—including Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa—previously enacted such laws.

There is also a growing list of countries—including Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Niger, and Burkina Faso—that have expressly stated that they will arrest individuals subject to arrest warrants for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the ICC if they enter their territory. While some have tried to assert that the ICC is biased against Africans, African countries have voluntarily demonstrated their commitment to the ICC delivering justice for crimes committed on their territories.

In June 2012 the government of Malawi took a courageous stand by indicating it would not host the AU summit if the AU insisted that ICC suspect Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be welcomed to Malawi for the event. While the AU has called for states not to cooperate in the arrest of President al-Bashir, the request is contrary to the fight against impunity and the fulfillment of international legal obligations of African states that are ICC states parties.

In addition, the Special Court for Sierra Leone—the hybrid criminal court established by agreement between the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone—handed down a judgment in April 2012 against former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in supporting rebels in Sierra Leone that committed heinous crimes.

In June 2012 Fatou Bensouda from the Gambia became the ICC’s chief prosecutor. Ms. Bensouda was the AU's endorsed candidate. We encourage all states to accord her office the necessary support to undertake her duties and responsibilities effectively.

The AU’s indication of its commitment to end impunity and its leadership in trying to resolve conflicts and secure peace on the continent is important. The below discussion provides further recommendations to promote justice for victims of the gravest crimes.

The need to uphold cooperation obligations under the ICC Statute

To preserve the effectiveness of the International Criminal Court and its ability to deliver justice, there must be cooperation with the ICC and respect for the court’s decisions. We note the recent public commitment made by President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to arrest Bosco Ntaganda, a suspect wanted by the ICC since 2006. The DRC should be supported in this endeavor.

We, the undersigned organizations, are concerned about decisions by the African Union calling on member states not to cooperate with the ICC, especially with respect to the pending arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. The AU maintains that as a head of state, al-Bashir enjoys immunity from prosecution. However, this position is in conflict with decisions by the judges of the ICC (for example, Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, ICC-02/05-01/09, December 13, 2011, paras. 22-43). The AU has recognized that ICC states parties should balance their obligations in such a way that promotes justice and not impunity (Assembly/AU/Dec.296(XV), para. 6).

We note the concerns raised by the AU in respect of requests for deferrals of the ICC’s investigation into crimes committed in Darfur and understand that responsibility for resolving this matter rests with both the United Nations Security Council as well as the AU. Meanwhile, matters of interpretation of the ICC statute, such as with regard to immunity, should be raised directly with the ICC, pursuant to article 119 of the ICC’s Rome Statute, and determinations by the judges regarding the interpretation of the statute should be respected. Accordingly, we call on ICC states parties to decline to renew the AU call for non-cooperation in the arrest of ICC suspects at the upcoming summit.

Proceed with caution on expanding the jurisdiction of the African Court

We understand that the draft protocol for the extension of the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (African Court) to prosecute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity was approved by African justice ministers and attorneys general in May 2012.

We believe there remain a number of issues regarding the establishment of a just, credible, and effective regional criminal court. Firstly, it is necessary to weigh the implications of the expansion of the African Court’s jurisdiction given the challenges the current court faces in implementing its human rights mandate. Specifically, a regional criminal court would involve financial obligations that may hamper the resources available for effective dispensation of the African Court’s human rights mandate. States should thus seriously weigh the costs of the court’s expansion and the burdens it will place on the African Court, which has barely begun work under its current mandate.

Secondly, it is necessary to clarify the proposed expanded jurisdiction with regard to the ICC. Increased opportunities for justice are positive in principle, but it will be important to ensure that the court’s expanded mandate does not in actuality impede justice. Specifically, we encourage that an expanded criminal jurisdiction of the African Court be rendered expressly complementary to the ICC and that obligations by African ICC states parties are not undermined through the expansion of the African Court.

The undersigned organizations furthermore call for a transparent and open process of consultation as the next steps are taken with regard to expansion of the African Court.

The Habré case: Press Senegal to prosecute or extradite

In 2006 the African Union called on Senegal to prosecute Habré on ‘behalf of Africa’. Since then victims have filed complaints in Senegal accusing Habré of crimes against humanity and torture. Yet Senegal has not moved forward with prosecution nor has it extradited him to Belgium, which stands ready to try him. We call upon the African Union to ensure that Senegal under the new leadership of President Macky Sall fulfillsits pledge to prosecute Habré.

It is our hope that this information will be useful in your deliberations and will help ensure that justice prevails on the continent. We wish you fruitful deliberations.


Action Contre l'Impunité pour les Droits Humains, Democratic Republic of Congo
Advocates for Public International Law Uganda, Uganda
Association Congolaise pour l'Accès à la Justice, Democratic Republic of Congo
Association pour les Droits de l'Homme et l'Univers Carcéral, Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo
Burundi Coalition for the ICC, Burundi
Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Sierra Leone
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Malawi
Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre , Nigeria
Club des Amis du droit du Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Coaliton Béninoise pour la CPI, Bénin
Coalition Burundaise pour la CPI, Burundi
Coalition Congolaise pour la CPI, Democratic Republic of Congo
Coalition of Eastern NGOs, Nigeria
Coalition for the International Criminal Court, with offices in Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo
Coalition Ivoirienne pour la CPI, Côte d’Ivoire
Coalition for Justice and Accountability, Sierra Leone
Human Rights Network – Uganda, Uganda
Human Rights Watch, with offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa
International Center for Transitional Justice, with offices in Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Uganda
International Commission of Jurists, Kenya
International Crime in Africa Programme, Institute for Security Studies, South Africa
National Coalition on Affirmative Action, Nigeria
Nigerian Coalition on the ICC, Nigeria
Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits Humains, Togo
Rights and Rice Foundation, Liberia
Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, Zambia
Southern Africa Litigation Centre, South Africa
Uganda Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Uganda
West African Bar Association, Nigeria

*The organizations that have signed this letter are among the most active participants in an informal network of African civil society organizations from across the African continent and international organizations with a presence in Africa who work on justice for international crimes.


Prime Minister Raila Odinga addressing Civil Society activists in Nairobi

By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 4, 2012

Are some civil society activists overrating themselves or are they simply making outrageous utterances merely to grab media attention? Don’t we know that some of the CS leaders that were at the forefront in street battles against the Nyayo regime became embarrassingly compromised when they were appointed to serve in the present government? Didn’t some of them become worse sycophants than even the diehard Nyayoists under Moi?

Now the National Convention Executive Council wants the Prime Minister to suspend Githu Muigai the Attorney General for consistently misadvising the government since his appointment. The same outfit is demanding that the Prime Minister sack the Permanent Secretary for Internal Security for defying a court ruling over the appointment of county commissioners.

The Council is miffed that Mr. Mutea Iringu told the controversial county commissioners to stay put in their offices as his boss Mr. Kimemia directed the Attorney General to immediately appeal the ruling in a higher court.

In this tirade in front of the Prime Minister, the Police Commissioner too was not spared the activists’ guns. His crime was rather straight forward. He had failed to tame the elusive, faceless and murderous gang that is out to target and slaughter innocent Kenyans.

It is common knowledge that retrogressive forces are out to mutilate the new constitution and stall reform agenda. All signs are there for all to see. One can see those forces hyperactive in parliament and among senior personnel in the public service.

In fact recently a top civil servant disclosed in a public gathering that there is a bill ready for tabling in parliament that will restore provincial commissioners in our new system of government. Never mind that the constitution did away with PCs in our system. That indeed was the clearest sign that anti reformers will go down fighting.

A few days later, the same top civil servant had the audacity to order the Attorney General to immediately appeal the court ruling that nullified the appointment of 47 county commissioners. When I saw this footage on prime time news, I recalled the days of Charles Njonjo as Attorney General and wondered if a fellow civil servant would have ordered him to undertake such an assignment.

It is true our new constitution is under threat. It is also true that the retrogressive forces that campaigned against the constitution have regrouped and have reemerged under different colours. They may no longer be the red brigades that lost the referendum but they are still the same forces that were hell bent on derailing the constitution one more time.

If you see Attorney General presenting ambiguous bills in parliament at times with premeditated errors; it is not for nothing. If you see parliament taking away the responsibility of the Judicial Vetting Board and arbitrarily giving it to the Judicial Service Commission where the AG sits; it may not be as innocent as it seems.

If you see a presidential candidate table an amendment in parliament to allow party promiscuity among our MPs; it is the clearest sign that the forces of impunity are in overdrive. Their mission is to stall reforms at all costs because such reforms are a threat to their life styles.

However, in safeguarding our hard won constitution, let us guard what we utter in public. There are some utterances which are populist and good for news punch lines. However, if the demands we make of our leaders are unrealistic, we all lose out and look bad in the process.

Take the three sacking demands that were made to the Prime Minister this week. He was asked to sack or suspend three top government officials just like that.

We know as much as everybody else that the three top officials may have not performed as expected. However their sacking cannot be a walk in the park.

These are not the days of Nyayo era when top government officials were sacked and appointed at lunch time over the radio. These are not the Nyayo days when we could afford to hire and fire a Vice President of the Republic of Kenya by the road side. We have established institutions and guidelines for hiring and firing our public servants.

If today we want to sack the Attorney General, a Permanent Secretary or Commissioner of Police, we can either go to court to nullify his appointment on grounds of gross misconduct or appeal to his appointing authority to relieve him of his duties. We cannot go to the wrong authority and expect to get the desired results.

The Civil Society must appreciate that we have a coalition government and government ministries and constitutional offices are shared between two principals. For this matter, the State Law Office and Internal Security belong to the President’s coalition side. He is the only one that can replace the Police Commissioner, Head of Public Service, Internal Security Permanent Secretary and Attorney General at will.

Making such demands of the Prime Minister to discipline individuals he never appointed in the first place is misguided and cheeky. It makes news alright but its effect enjoys limited shelf life. Our civil society activists can do better than this.


The AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa

By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
July 4, 2012

Africa cannot afford to be a copy cat this time with human rights violations.
It will be a disaster if out of anger and frustrations with the ICC, our leaders in this continent went ahead to set up a rival court in Arusha or elsewhere in the continent.

The last time radicals such as Kwame Nkrumah tried to set a United States of Africa on the model of the United States of America, the plan flopped badly. The American model is unique to the Americans. It cannot be replicated elsewhere. It is the reason the European Union is on the brink of collapse even before it realizes a political federation.

The American federation was born out of two bloody wars. First the British colonies had to revolt against the crown in England and fought a protracted American War of Independence. However, soon after the anti-colonial war was over, Americans turned their guns against each other and fought an even more vicious Civil War that pitted the Northerners against Southerners. These were the major conflicts that created the world’s super power. When the pro unionists emerged victorious, the great American nation was born.

The reason the Soviet Empire collapsed was because the Russian satellite states in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia did not enter into federal treaties with the Russian central state after the Second World War. They were merely annexed by the mightier neighbor next door. Had Russia negotiated a federal system with Eastern European states it was keen on forming a federation with soon after Second World War, the USSR would probably still exist.

Forming voluntary unions during peace time is an uphill task. It is the reason the European States have been toying with the idea for more than half a century without much success. If the world does not watch, a chance of having no European Union two decades from now is a real possibility.

In Africa, we say that if you see your polygamous neighbour in a happy union with his many wives and children; don’t go out and marry the same number of women expecting the same happiness. If you do; you will leave to regret it for the rest of your life. This is because you will never know the formula for his happiness.

The African Union has been having a go at the ICC for the better part of three years since Sudanese warlord was charged with crimes against humanity over the Darfur massacres. This development sent shivers down the spines of many autocratic leaders still ruling their states with iron fists. In Omar El Bashir they saw their future in a crystal ball. If Omar went to The Hague and got convicted, chances were The Hague beast would come back to claim more victims from the continent.

As things stand now, over 32 states in Africa that had signed The Rome Statute are having second thoughts. They are beginning to see the ICC as a colonial court designed to recolonize and punish the natives of this continent and in the process humiliate their distinguished leaders.

Therefore in their wisdom; if they can set up a court to rival the ICC, there will be no need for African criminal leaders to be humiliated at the ICC which is the white man’s court. Other than this emotional outburst, there is no other compelling reason why Africa needs to set up its own ICC.

The quest for an African ICC gained momentum when six Kenyans were arraigned in court at the ICC to face charges of crimes against humanity following the 2008 post election violence. The President of Kenya together with a section of the coalition government was hell bent on derailing their trials through elaborate shuttle diplomacy among the AU and UN member states. When all attempts to transfer the cases back to Kenya failed, some clever genius lobbied the East Africa states to suggest the idea of an Arusha ICC to the AU summit. The resolution was quickly adopted.

There is nothing wrong with Africa having its own regional court to try crimes against humanity. What is wrong is to set it up simply because leaders in the continent have some gripe with an international court at The Hague. They must have better and compelling reasons to set it up. It has to be carefully thought out with funding and human resource carefully planned and acquired.

As it is, most African states are banana republics. Their national budgets still depend on the same colonial masters that must bridge the gaping gaps in their national budgets. Regional blocs like the COMESA, EAC and even the AU itself cannot even build their own headquarters without support from friendly countries.

How will it sound if after embarking on the African ICC project, the AU turns around and asks the EU, Canada, Japan, China and the USA to help fund the operations of the African ICC?

Yes, the ICC may have its faults. Indeed it is not perfect. However it would make more sense if the African states set out to reform its operations, infrastructure, policies and management for the good of all humanity.


July 2 2012

On 1 July 2002, the first three staff members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered the ICC’s building in The Hague, the Netherlands. On that day, the ICC’s founding treaty, called the Rome Statute, entered into force.

Ten years after that modest beginning, the ICC has turned into a major international institution, securing justice for victims when it cannot be delivered at the national level.

121 States have ratified the Rome Statute, and another 32 countries have signed it, indicating their intention to join the treaty.
The ICC is working in seven situation countries, and monitoring developments in seven others on several continents, turning the principles of the Rome Statute into reality.

In March this year, the ICC delivered its first judgement in a case concerning the use of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Six cases are in the trial stage and nine others in pre-trial phase. These proceedings are testimony that impunity for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity is no longer tolerated by the international community.

The victims are a vital part of the ICC’s work. Thousands of victims have been given a voice in the arena of international justice, where their rights are upheld and their suffering recognised.

The ICC’s proceedings have emphasized, on a global scale, that children cannot be used as soldiers during hostilities, that sexual violence as a weapon of war is an unacceptable international crime, and that those in positions of power must safeguard the fundamental human rights of people caught in conflict.

Support for international justice is growing around the world every year. Everywhere, people want peace, justice, rule of law and respect for human dignity. The ICC represents the voluntary gathering of nations in a community of values and aspirations for a more secure future for children, women and men around the world.

However, rather than rejoice over our accomplishments, it is far more important that we recognise the shortcomings and the obstacles that remain, and redouble our commitment to further strengthen the Rome Statute system in order to move closer to our ultimate goals. If we act wisely, pulling our strength together, we can prevent terrible suffering before it takes place.

The ICC is the centrepiece of the evolving system of international criminal justice, but the most important aspect of the fight against impunity takes place in each country, society and community around the globe.

Domestic justice systems must be strong enough to be able to act as the primary deterrent worldwide, while the ICC is a “court of last resort”, a safety net that ensures accountability when the national jurisdictions are unable for whatever reason to carry out this task.

In a spirit of solidarity, the States Parties to the Rome Statute have expressed their commitment to work together to ensure that this principle of complementarity is effective.

Another crucial aspect of the ICC is the cooperation of states and the enforcement of the Court’s orders. The ICC has no police force of its own. The Court relies entirely on states to execute our arrest warrants, to produce evidence, to facilitate the appearance of witnesses and so on. Unfortunately, several suspects subject to ICC arrest warrants have successfully evaded arrest for many years. Political will and international cooperation is crucial in order to bring these persons to justice.

While we work together to prevent impunity and to ensure accountability, we must remember that international criminal justice is one piece in a bigger framework for protecting human rights, suppressing conflict and working for peace and stabilisation.

It is vital that other essential elements of conflict prevention and post-conflict recovery are present where needed, alongside international justice mechanisms. Only when accompanied by education, democracy and development, can justice truly help prevent the crimes of the future.

Let us cherish our spirit of solidarity as we look forward to the ICC’s next decade, celebrating our achievements and acknowledging the challenges that remain ahead. We must be united in our resolve to defeat impunity and the lawlessness, brutality and disdain for human dignity that it represents.

At this crucial juncture, we must continue the fight against impunity with renewed resolve and increased vigour. We cannot rest until every victim has received justice.

On the 10th anniversary of the International Criminal Court, I call on states, organisations and people everywhere to join this shared mission of humanity.

Judge Sang-Hyun SONG, President of the International Criminal Court. Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the International Criminal Court.


Bloomberg News
By Chris Jasper
July 03, 2012

FastJet, the African discount airline startup backed EasyJet Plc (EZJ)’s Stelios Haji-Ioannou, said it aims to operate 15 leased Airbus SAS aircraft within a year and will be a prospective customer for new models from the European planemaker and U.S. rival Boeing Co. (BA) (BA)

FastJet will add five leased A319 jetliners, which can seat as many as 156 people, within six months, before building up to three times that number, London-based holding company Rubicon Diversified Investments Plc (RUBI) said today in a statement.

Africa’s first continent-wide, low-cost airline will use operating licenses held by majority owner Lonrho Plc (LAF)’s existing Fly540 unit to establish flights in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola. The company opted for an Airbus-based fleet after saying last month that E-190 regional jets from Embraer SA (EMBR3) of Brazil were also under consideration.

“The decision to launch FastJet with the Airbus A319 will offer unit costs low enough for us to cut fares and stimulate the market,” Rubicon Chief Executive Officer Ed Winter said in an interview. The airline is likely to move toward purchasing its own planes in three to five years, with the Airbus A320 neo and Boeing 737 MAX the most likely contenders, he said.

Capacity Boost
The first aircraft will be leased from Nomura Babcock Brown Co. and are scheduled for handover as early as September, Rubicon said, with further deliveries due later in the year.

The initial five jets should double Fly540’s capacity to the equivalent of 1.5 million passengers a year within six months, Winter said, with each aircraft potentially carrying upwards of 250,000 passengers.

A rise in GDP and consumer spending means Africa is ready to support a discount carrier of the kind that has transformed aviation elsewhere, according to Winter, who has worked at EasyJet and British Airways. Like carriers from Southwest Airlines Co. in the U.S. to Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA), Fastjet aims to create a market using fares low enough to persuade some people to fly for the first time and others to travel more.

The four markets to be targeted by Fastjet all have large- scale oil or gas developments, from which wealth is beginning to trickle down to a growing middle class, the executive said.

The airline was established after Rubicon bought Lonrho Aviation, which runs Fly540, in an $85.7 million all-stock reverse takeover which gave Lonrho a 73.7 percent holding.

EasyJet founder and No. 1 shareholder Stelios, who goes by his first name, has a 5 percent stake in Rubicon and will receive 0.5 percent of its revenue for providing consulting services and use of the Fastjet name, which he owns. The discount aviation pioneer also nominated Winter as CEO and will sit on Rubicon’s board.

While European discount operators fly to north Africa and there have been experiments with low-cost carriers south of the Sahara, no pan-continental service has so far been attempted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Jasper in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at


Monday, July 2, 2012
Former President George W. Bush paints the walls of a health center ... more >

DALLAS — Former President George W. Bush has been helping to renovate a women’s cancer-screening center in Zambia during a weeklong trip to Africa.

Mr. Bush, clad in a T-shirt and jeans, painted and hauled lumber at the Ngungu Health Center in Kabwe, about 90 miles north of the Zambian capital, Lusaka. The center will start screening and treating women Tuesday for cervical cancer and precancer.

The former president and his wife, Laura, are in Africa to promote a partnership among the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, UNAIDS and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, that aims to fight cervical and breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center says the Bushes arrived in Africa over the weekend.


McConnell: Odds long to undo health care law

ELIZABETHTOWN — It’s on his to-do list, but U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell says the odds are against repealing the health care law championed by President Obama.

The Kentucky Republican said Monday it’s hard to unravel something of the magnitude of the 2,700-page health care law, whas-tv reports.

“If you thought it was a good idea for the federal government to go in this direction, i’d say the odds are still on your side,” Mr. McConnell said. “Because it’s a lot harder to undo something than it is to stop it in the first place.”

Mr. McConnell discussed the law in comments to about 50 people at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown. the state’s senior senator was making stops at Kentucky hospitals discussing what’s next since last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the law was constitutional.

The high court upheld the law’s crucial mandate that individuals buy health insurance or face a penalty.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., a conservative, provided the pivotal vote in that decision by ruling that the penalty was legal under the government’s taxing authority. while technically handing a political victory to Mr. Obama, Chief Justice Roberts‘ ruling invigorated Republicans eager to cast the law as a new tax.

Mr. McConnell still says he’ll do whatever he can to repeal the law.

If given control of the Senate next year, Mr. McConnell said he would support using budget reconciliation rules to repeal it. doing so would prohibit senate filibusters and require only 51 votes to succeed. In 2010, Republicans lambasted Democrats for relying on these rules to pass the health care bill, calling their tactics unusual and hyperpartisan.
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