Tomorrow will be a defining day for all Kenyans. At 10:30am East African Time (EAT), six men will find out if they will be committed to stand trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) At 1:30 EAT a public announcement will be made.
On December 27, 2007, presidential election day in Kenya, the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner. Supporters of his opponent Raila Odinga, alleged that the election had been rigged. Several non-violent protests occurred but horrifically this was followed by months of targeted ethnic violence. President Kibaki is a member of the Kikuyu tribe and Kikuyu’s were targeted. Beside looting and burning people’s homes, forcing people to leave their farms and homes, those involved killed up to 1500 people. Another 3500 people were injured and 600 000 people displaced. Some were still living in camps when I was there in 2010 more than two years later. I had dinner in the home of a Kenyan who had to send his family to Uganda for safety, and who hid in a truck for days at a nearby police station while armed men tried to get at him and his fellow Kikuyu, just because they were Kikuyu.
The suspects who allegedly masterminded the violence, are referred to as the Ocampo Six. Ocampo is the ICC prosecutor who spent months in Kenya interviewing, hearing complaints, and investigating the atrocities. He was there when I was there in 2010 and made the headlines every day.
The Ocampo six were senior allies of both President Mwai Kibaki and his rival in the election, Raila Odinga; Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s longterm leader Jomo Kenyatta who is currently serving as both deputy prime minister and finance minister, former education minister William Ruto, former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, Francis Muthaura, the head of Kenya’s public service, industrialization minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang.
I am afraid that tomorrow, leading up to the announcement or following it, violence will erupt again. My wish is that tomorrow there will be peace.