While President Mwai Kibaki and his Party of National Unity (PNU) segment of the grand coalition government scramble with last ditch efforts to save the Ocampo four from the International Criminal Courts (ICC) prosecution, hundreds of women victims of rape in the post 2007 general elections violence are still crying for justice.Many of the women and girls who are still living in Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps under horrendous inhuman conditions have since given birth to many children who four years old plus some months on top after conceiving un-wanted children from their rape ordeals.
Children whose criminal fathers not been brought to justice for the crimes they committed against their helpless mothers at the height of the violence, especially in the Rift Valley, parts of Nyanza and Western provinces that bore the brunt of the violence.
Today many of the rape victims were not only impregnated but were also infected with the HIV virus with which they are currently struggling to cope not to mention the spectre of the crippling trauma they have been forced to endure with the horrors they went through nearly five years ago – most were never given trauma counseling.
Though some of them have been re-settled by the government, many others are still living in IDP camps in various parts of the Rift Valley while others in Western, Nyanza and even Uganda called returnees mostly from Naivasha, Nakuru and other parts of Rift Valley appear to have been forgotten.
The ICC which recently summoned Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former Civil Service Chief, Francis Muthaura and Radio Journalist Joshua Sang who were indicted and committed to trial after the pre-trial hearings at The Hague last year.
These women include young girls who became victims not only of rape, HIV and other STI infections but were forced to drop out of school and are now mothers of children they were not ready to bear.
Ms. Nyambura Mwangi at Mawingu IDP camp in Rift valley told this writer: “I was raped by multiple armed attackers. They left me for dead. I am now a mother of a four year old boy. My future was ruined. I do not know what to do with myself or the boy. Those who attacked me I know were never caught and taken to court. Why can’t the government arrest and prosecute these people, instead of doing what it is doing for those who were taken to the ICC?”
Ms. Mwangi says that when she recovered her consciousness in the ICU at the Nakuru provincial general hospital, the doctors told her that she had been infected by gonorrhea as a result of her rape ordeal and a few months later that she was pregnant.
“I was lucky not to have been infected by the dreaded HIV/Aids virus like many of my friends. Some of them have committed suicide because they could not bear it any more. Now all I want is my attackers to face justice. My nightmare is bringing up this boy,” she said.
The story of Milcah Akinyi is no better than that of Nyambura, she says she was attacked and raped while fleeing violence that had gripped Naivasha by people who were known to her whom she identified to police but action has never been taken against them.
Ms. Akinyi who has seen relocated from Naivasha says that out of that ordeal’s pregnancy she has twin daughters who are now nearly four and a half years old, but worse she was diagnosed to have been infected by the HIV virus.
Another worst scenario is that of Mrs. Grace Nangira Makokha who said: “My husband abandoned me with our five our children, three boys and two girls because I was raped, got pregnant and infected with the HIV virus in the 2008 violence. I do not know where he disappeared to.”
Mrs. Makokha claims that she was attacked by police officers whom she identified but no action was taken against them, now she is demanding that the government takes action against them, protect and take care of her and her children and many other post election victims instead of focusing all attention on the ICC four.
These are stories currently emanating from the lips of hundreds of women and girls who were rape victims of the post 2007 general elections violence that are still being told from either IDP camps or resettled areas as the Kibaki administration pushes for an East African and African Union courts to handle the matter.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) report that during that time, the country witnessed unprecedented levels of all kinds of violence including the wanton killing of at least 1,133 people, rape of at least 1500 women and girls, destruction of property worth billions of shillings and internal displacement of at least 350,000 people in Kenya, many of them women and children
Former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister and Presidential aspirant Martha Karua says that instead of the government wasting a lot of public resources and time to shield the Ocampo four, it should immediately find a permanent solution to the IDP problem.
“It is the duty of the government not only to protect its citizens but also prosecute those who commit or committed crimes against them. The government should therefore take responsibility and address the issues affecting Internally Displaced Persons immediately,” says Ms. Karua.
She takes issue with the government for trying to protect the Ocampo four against ICC prosecution and the churches prayers for them and literally totally ignoring the plight of the IDPs - especially women who are yet to be re-settled.
In a special address in parliament to the nation recently, president Kibaki is on record stating his government’s determination to establish a local tribunal to try the Ocampo four who have been indicted to face trial at the ICC in The Hague for crimes against humanity.
President Kibaki who is also the current chair of the East African Community (EAC) has since seen the East African Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers ratify plans to expand the East African Court of Justice to handle the cases.
The matter has also since been taken to the African Union for the same, in an effort to have the cases against the four and other African leaders suspected or accused of related crimes to be tried within the African continent instead of the ICC.
East African Law Society vice president James Mwamu has since criticised a motion passed by the East African Legislative Assembly urging the ICC to transfer the Ocampo four trials to the East African Court of Justice. The motion, which was passed in April seeks to have the four - tried at the Arusha based court in Tanzania.
The Assembly’s resolution came barely two days after President Kibaki, during the second State of the Nation address to Parliament, intimated that the government is exploring mechanisms to have the cases tried locally. Uhuru and Muthaura have requested the ICC to postpone their trial until their appeal on the Court’s jurisdiction in determined.
Mwamu yesterday faulted the EALA motion, adding that the EACJ cannot handle the cases. “The East African Court of Justice has no jurisdiction whatsoever to deal with criminal matters and the move by the legislative assembly to pass that motion is absolutely illegitimate,” he said. He asked the EALA MPs to misleading the public because under Article 27 (2) of the EAC treaty, EACJ has no authority to handle issues dealing with the infringement of people’s rights.