Just a month ago, Uganda hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala . It took place between November 23-25 and all 48 countries attended this meeting which also brought the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, who is the club’s overall head.
In this meeting, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya was present and therefore I must say he is part of the resolutions made in that highly publicized CHOGM meeting. The climax of this Kampala event was reached when the presidents came up with 96 resolutions, which they put in their ‘Kampala Communiqué’.
My area of interest is just on resolution number 4 and 5 of this 20-page communiqué.
Thus I quote: “Heads of Governments reiterated their commitment to the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values of: tolerance, respect, international peace and security, democracy, good governance, human rights, gender equality, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, parliament, and executive, freedom of expression, a political culture that promotes transparency and accountability and sustainable development.”
Resolution No. 5 goes: “They reaffirmed that the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity is a fundamental commonwealth value.”
The ongoing problems in Kenya as a result of what is now highly regarded as flawed elections puts the Commonwealth club on trial.
It is time for the club to come out and show its cause and relevance to the ordinary people of Kenya given the fact that Kenya (which is a member of Chogm) does not in any way fulfill the above resolutions, which were termed as ‘Fundamental Political Values’.
There is no doubt about this and what we need is action from Commonwealth.
We all know that this club, apart from criticizing the Pakistan government led by Gen. Pavez Musharaf, has not taken any tangible efforts to restore rule of law and constitutionalism in that country.
The killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto a few weeks ago left many of us who live in commonwealth countries like Uganda wondering whether such resolutions, which are passed, are simply diplomatic resolutions or are meant to serve the people in such countries where Chogm reigns.
The ongoing Kenyan crisis which some of us now think has turned genocidal indicates how such meetings and resolutions seem to serve diplomatic purposes especially by those in power, but not the people on the ground.
If President Kibaki and his government knew that such resolutions are for the people, then why would Kenya be in such a terrible situation after elections? If Mr Kibaki believes in the rule of law, democracy and constitutionalism, why would people be dying now?
There is no doubt given what the chairman of the Kenyan Electoral Commission Samuel Kivuitu said and the election observers, that the Kenyan elections (read Mr. Kibaki’s victory) failed to measured up even to the minimum standards to be called free and fair elections.
In view of this, I keep wondering whether Mr Kibaki and his government accepted that they are part of the resolutions, which were passed during the Kampala Chogm meeting, or such reasons were meant to serve diplomatic purposes such that the governments in power can still access aid from the queen.
Otherwise, why would people be dying and others fleeing Kenya because of elections?
It isgood that the commonwealth chairman who is also the EAC chairman Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is trying to mediate the two factions, but the question remains: Do presidents make resolutions for show purposes or for the good of their people? Are there any benchmarks one (country) has to fulfill before endorsing such resolutions or it is compulsory? The questions are many. This is what our dear presidents need to tell us as local people.
So far Uganda is hosting thousands of refugees and many people have lost their lives in Kenya because of disputed elections. Does anyone care about the families of those who are killed? Is the UN and the Commonwealth club taking into account the UN provisions on human rights and right to life that they also apply to ordinary Kenyans?
Who is responsible for those who are killed with guns and pangas? How about the young and voiceless citizens (children) who did not even participate in the elections or in the ongoing killings, but are simply victims of circumstances? Everyday I switch on my radio and TV, I read about Kenya where people are being killed now from political to tribal basis!
The only question an ordinary Kenyan asks now is whether Mr Kibaki or Mr Odinga will face crimes against humanity like the former Liberian president Charles Taylor is facing in The Hague .
I am sure Taylor did not actively participate in the real killing, murder and rape of people, but he indirectly supported the killings by rendering support to those who were administering the killings.
Similarly, the International Court of Justice, African Union and East African Community should interest themselves in this ongoing chaos in Kenya and apprehend those responsible for the brutalities.
The right to life is a God given right, while the right to free and fair leadership is guaranteed by the constitution enforced by the state.
The tendency by our leaders to sit in conferences and hotels and simply pass resolutions for politicking purposes without people’s consideration should be avoided.
The Kenyan crisis tells everybody that really something needs to be done by the Chogm leaders, by among other things redefining its values, objectives and those it intends to serve.
Kenya has been a rising star in East Africa and Africa in general, but because of greed for power by politicians, many people’s decisions during the elections of December 27 were not respected.