In Summary
  • My sense is, if any mafia took power in the Kibaki era, it was the Makerere University and Dar es Salaam mafia. Kibaki himself was a Makererean, so was Vice-President Moody Awori, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, Planning Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o, Trade Minister Mukhisa Kituyi, and so on.
  • When the ICC charges came along, they turbo-charged Kenya’s embrace of Africa.
  • One of the most controversial regional issues of the 1970s was Kenya’s decision to grant the Israeli mission that staged the dramatic Entebbe hostage raid in July 1976 permission to refuel.

So the trial of the “Ocampo Three” — President Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang has started at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The three are accused of being complicit in the early 2008 post-election violence that followed the disputed December election.

There has been a lot of discussion on how the trials and their outcomes could affect Kenya in days to come.

I find that interesting, because the most far-reaching impact of the ICC has already happened. Let me explain: To make sense of it, we need to go back to the election of Mwai Kibaki as President at the end of December 2002.

While it was popular to refer to the rise of a “Mt Kenya Mafia” during Kibaki’s rule, it was a cultural and ethnic stereotype. It didn’t tell us about the ideological and philosophical innards of the Kibaki government.

My sense is, if any mafia took power in the Kibaki era, it was the Makerere University and Dar es Salaam mafia. Kibaki himself was a Makererean, so was Vice-President Moody Awori, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, Planning Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o, Trade Minister Mukhisa Kituyi, and so on.

From Dar es Salaam, we had Mutula Kilonzo, who came in as Justice Minister. In one last act, this Eastern Africa mafia made Willy Mutunga, a Dar University alumnus, Chief Justice.
Kibaki and a couple of his ministers were emotionally and doctrinally East African in ways past governments weren’t. Thus if Kibaki hadn’t pushed hard, Rwanda wouldn’t have been admitted into the East African Community.

During Kibaki’s presidency, we saw the beginnings of a significant shift away from Kenya’s very pro-Western posture, towards East Africa and the East. When the ICC charges came along, they turbo-charged Kenya’s embrace of Africa.

Because from 2010 most African countries individually had taken an anti-ICC line, and then in 2011 the African Union formally voted not to cooperate with it, Kenyatta and Ruto came into office when anti-Hague sentiment was already high in official Africa. Africa was also being touted as the “rising” continent economically, so leaders are asserting their independence more.

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