By Henry D Gombya
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was yesterday dealt a heavy blow when Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, one of the earliest African leaders to support the ICC, unceremoniously referred to it as being ‘opinionated and arrogant’ and ‘using careless and shallow analysis’ to distort its very purpose.
Mr Museveni made the remarks during the inauguration of Kenya’s President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta as the country’s fourth president at a colourful ceremony attended by many African Heads of State and Government at the Kasarani Sports Centre in Nairobi.
Giving the key-note speech on behalf of all invited VIPs, Mr Museveni who became the first African leader to invite the ICC to indict a Ugandan citizen, warlord Joseph Kony, said he had been forced to invite the ICC because Kony was operating from outside Uganda. He said had he been in the country, he would have been tried there. “I want to salute the Kenyan voters on the rejection of the blackmail by the International Criminal Court and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda,” Mr Museveni said. He went on to add: “Instead of a thorough and thoughtful process, we have individuals engaged in legal gymnastics.”
The Ugandan leader must have said these words with the thoughts of a court saga that is impending for the new African leader and his deputy. Kenyans had last month overwhelming gone out their way to vote for a leader they wanted to lead them for the next five years. In what was seen by all interested parties apart from the main opposition CORD alliance of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as a free and fair election, the voters narrowly went for Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto, both of whom are under indictment by the ICC for the clashes that claimed the lives of over 1100 people after the results of the 2007 presidential elections returned Mwai Kibaki instead of Odinga.