Uhuru and Ruto ICC Cases: Who Foots Their Bills?
When Deputy President William Ruto arrived at Schipol Airport on May 13, 2013 to attend a status conference at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague the next day, he was received by Kenyan Ambassador to the Netherlands, Rose Makena Muchiri. Was he there in his official capacity to warrant being received by the Ambassador? Therefore, the Six Million Dollar question is: Who paid for his trip? Further, who is paying his ICC legal fees now that he is deputy president? Who paid his wife’s expenses during the trip?
The so-called Ocampo Three (President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto and reporter Joshua arap Sang) are accused of serious crimes against humanity linked to the post-election violence (PEV) in their private capacities. It is therefore against the spirit of the country’s Constitution to be accorded official treatment using taxpayers’ money. Joshua Sang was also at the status conference; who paid for his trip? At the beginning of the ICC cases, he went public that he could not afford to pay for his air ticket and legal fees.
It was disgusting to see Ambassador Muchiri parade her embassy staff to greet Ruto when he arrived at the ICC on May 14th as if he was on a diplomatic mission. Worse still, he arrived and left the Court in a motorcade of around six Mercedes Benz limousines accompanied by at least three Dutch police outriders, who cleared the road ahead for his smooth ride. This is the paradox of international law which guarantees heads of states and senior government officials immunities and privileges abroad, despite serious criminal charges. Ruto was accused long before and should therefore not mix the ICC case with his current official status. It riles to hear Kenyans being mentioned collectively during the Court proceedings, as if they are also on trial. Ruto does not represent them at the ICC because the charges are his private matter.
In what is clearly another round of ICC shuttle diplomacy, (a la the failed one by Kalonzo Musyoka in 2011), Ruto arrived from The Hague and soon after, visited some countries in Central and West Africa, in what was dubbed “representing President Uhuru” to strengthen ties in the spirit of Pan-Africanism. But insiders claim the purpose was to rally African Union member states to support them (Uhuruto) in dropping the ICC cases. Ambassador Macharia Kamau’s recent letter to the UN Security Council seeking to terminate the ICC process is a pointer, even if Uhuru and Ruto disowned it.
A section of the Kenyan media reported that Ruto’s African trip could cost taxpayers a whopping Ksh100 million a year, because his office has hired a state-of-the art Bombardier aircraft at a quarterly payment of Ksh25.4 million. It means there will be more of such visits in the future. The government has since denied the reports, saying it was a one-off payment of Ksh18.5 million only. To do damage control, invoices were issued to media houses from Ruto’s office, yet a thorough scrutiny by journalists detected discrepancies in their entries, compared to the documents which they have from VistaJet, where the plane was hired, and signed by Ruto’s officers.
Majority of Kenyans are “sufferers” and if lucky, earn a Dollar a day. Uhuru’s call to curb wastage of public resources will amount to mere rhetoric as long as old habits are perpetuated by his officers. The President has inherited a broke Government with a debt of Ksh1.8 trillion. He has so far impressed by insisting the public wage bill is too high and must be checked, amidst cries for a pay rise by the greedy MPigs. Kenyans need transparency in Government dealings, especially concerning the ICC proceedings.