African leaders more prone to mischief but it doesn’t make ICC right – young Kenyan leader

2013-10-06 06:00

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While African leaders are “more likely to fall into mischief than other leaders”, all African countries should withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) because it prosecutes African leaders only and has therefore lost credibility and clout.

This is the view of Suleiman Ngondi, an aspirant Kenyan leader who attended the One Young World Summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre this week.

One Young World gathers more than 1 000 young leaders across the world to debate ideas and initiatives that have the potential to change the world.

Early this month Kenya’s Parliament voted to leave the jurisdiction of the ICC, accusing it of unfairly prosecuting its president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto. Kenyatta and Ruto face charges of crimes against humanity at the Dutch-based ICC about their role in that country’s bloodstained elections in 2007.

The African Union will also next week host a summit where the Kenyan debacle will feature prominently on the agenda.

Ngondi, who is studying for a bachelor of commerce degree at the Kenyatta University in Nairobi, said “the ICC was formed with good intentions but clearly they only prosecute African leaders. However, we must also accept that African leaders are much more likely to fall into mischief than other leaders elsewhere”.

The ICC, he said, was not trying Kenyatta and Ruto on behalf of the Kenyan people.

“They (the ICC) are not doing this for the benefit of our people. We have accepted these two guys and we are ready to move on with our lives. In fact they (Kenyatta and Ruto) are doing a good job. They have hit the ground running. They have introduced a youth fund. They have also introduced a scheme which will see everyone at primary school get a laptop. Remember, we are moving towards a knowledge-based economy,” he said.

Ngondi also praised Kenyatta’s response to the Westgate mall tragedy, which saw more than 70 people die following a terrorist attack orchestrated by the militant group al-Shabaab.

“I commend the president. I would have done more or less what he did. I liked how our president allowed our armed forces to head the operation. A lot of people were calling for Israeli and US forces to take charge, but I think we also have an efficient and able army.”

Kenyatta, he said, should refuse to concede to al-Shabaab’s demand that he withdraw the country’s troops from Somalia.

“If we do that, then we will be conceding defeat.”

Although the Westgate tragedy did not affect him personally, Ngondi said his girlfriend’s neighbour had died during the siege.

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