In Ghana, you may call them footsoldiers or Azorka Boys but in Kenya they are popularly referred to as the Mungiki sect.
The Kenyan police, on the instructions of Hussein Ali, the former Commissioner of Police, according to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, stood by and provided a “conducive environment” whilst these thugs went around butchering civilians in reprisal attacks during the December 2007 elections.
The Minister of Finance and a 2012 Presidential hopeful, Uhuru Kenyatta, is alleged to have paid millions of shillings to Mungiki leaders to carry out these attacks.
These two officials, together with four others, are currently standing trial at the ICC for being behind the bloodshed that resulted in the death of over 1,133 civilians in the aftermath of the December 2007 elections.
The others standing trial include: William Ruto, the former Minister of Agriculture; Henry Kosgey, the former Industrialisation Minister; Francis Muthaura, Head of the Public Service, , and radio show host Joshua Arap Sang.
If found guilty, these men could face a minimum of fifty years to life imprisonment.
According to prosecutors at the ICC, a criminal plan was put in place in the Rift Valley for those seen as supporters of President Kibaki to be attacked after the 2007 election.
In retaliation, the police were given the green light to use excessive force and the Mungiki militia, a vigilante group, was organised to attack civilians.
Evidence indicates that guns and other weapons were procured from Somalia and distributed to the Mungiki militia for the “job”. Graphic details have been given of how Mungiki leaders were paid millions of shillings by Uhuru Kenyatta and other people to rally their members for the attacks.
Mungiki leaders were instructed to recruit and administer an oath of induction on more Kikuyu youths, the tribe of Kibaki, for the attacks. Francus Muthaura and Hussein Ali are accused of instructing police to facilitate passage for the Mungiki sect as well as issuing them with military gear.
Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court add that the gang was so important to the Kibaki government that before embarking on the mission they were driven through the State House in buses, where they received blessings.
Joseph Sang, a radio show host, helped by inciting supporters via radio broadcasts to attack opponents, a situation scenario panned out in the Rwanda which resulted in the genocide. Ghana also witnessed similar situations during the 2008 elections.
Speaking exclusively to the New Statesman the Head of Research at the Danquah Institute, Nana Attobrah Quaicoe, stated that the precedent set at the International Criminal Court where current and former Kenyan officials are standing trial over their links to violence after the country's 2007 elections, which killed 1,133 people, should serve as warning to our officials.
The DI man has implored officials holding positions of trust in government and security chiefs to be mindful of the fact that their actions or inactions in the run up to and after the 2012 elections could result in them facing charges of crimes against humanity at The Hague.
According to Nana Attobrah, President Mills has stated that he will ensure that Ghana holds a peaceful election in 2012 and it is incumbent on officials hold him to his word and ensure the right thing is done.
“We are not saying a Kenya-like situation will happen in Ghana but if there is a keg and something happens in Ghana, the Kenyan situation has set the precedent that the matter could end up at The Hague with the trial of those responsible for it,” Nana Attobrah added.
The DI man explained that there is therefore an added incentive for politicians, government officials, security chiefs and people in responsible positions to ensure that the 2012 election is held in an atmosphere where the rule of law will prevail.
He continued, “We have seen situations in Ghana where foot soldiers of the ruling party engage in acts of vandalism with the Police effecting not even a single arrest. A few weeks ago, some policemen were seen negotiating, instead of enforcing the law, with ‘macho men’ who had prevented Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings from holding an event at a venue she had paid for.”
Nana Attobrah added, “The person who signs the cheques for monies to be released to such groups to perpetuate violence could also end up at The Hague as the Kenyan case has shown us.”
In the view of the DI man, the intervention by the International Criminal Court will help encourage a new rule, a rule that says leaders cannot commit atrocities to gain power. This, according to him, will ensure that elections held on the African continent, and indeed elsewhere across the globe, will be peaceful.
Source: The New Statesman
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