By: OTIENO OTIENO
Last Thursday I spared time to watch the Citizen TV debate involving TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja and his ODM counterpart John Mbadi on the Kenyan agenda before the ICC’s Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute.
For a neutral and discerning viewer, the show offered a glimpse of how political elite interests converge in this country.
Beyond the dramatic displays of antagonism at public rallies for their euphoric supporters, there is very little to choose from in terms of ideological positions on major national issues between TNA and ODM.
It was clear from the debate that both parties wish the ICC dropped the crimes against humanity charges on Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang.
And neither of them cares much about justice for the victims of the post-election violence.
TRITE PARTY POLITICS
Indeed it was a testimony to the sameness of Kenya’s party politics that one had to resort to assessing the panellists’ respective honesty levels to try to call the debate in favour of either.
On the honesty score alone, Mr Sakaja definitely ran away with it, even if all he did was flog the tired establishment’s line that the ICC trial of the two Kenyans is unjust and depict the accused as victims of the post-election violence.
For his part, Mr Mbadi was all over the place, professing support for the government’s anti-ICC agenda and only finding fault with the embarrassing tactlessness of its campaign, which portrayed Kenya as against justice in the eyes of others.
A long the way, the ODM chairman confirmed what everyone already knew: that selfish interests — not the quest for justice — sway whatever positions the party takes on the ICC issue at any given time.
SELFISH POLITICAL INTERESTS
Mr Mbadi disclosed that he had actually appended his signature to the petition asking for an audit of the prosecution’s investigations into the Kenyan cases, including the procurement of witnesses, believing that it would help unmask the people who fixed Mr Ruto and absolve his party of the blame that cost it votes in Rift Valley in the last elections.
Now, the Suba MP and his party are perfectly within their rights to pursue selfish political interests, and it would be naive to expect them not to do so.
But they can at least show their supporters a little respect by telling them what the party really stands for.
The ritual cut-and-paste job that sees ODM officials instinctively include high ideals like justice in the manifesto and rush to fish out the Nyayo-era detainee status of the party leader as proof of commitment to such ideals every time an election is around is a massive fraud on their supporters.
Little surprise the ODM chairman even appeared somewhat embarrassed to name the ethnic communities the so-called integrated IDPs who have been discriminated against in the State’s resettlement and compensation programme belong to.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION