The CSS Blog Network

Indecision and Justice in Kenya

Always a Sword in Hand. photo: rafaelmarquez/flickr

As the International Criminal Court (ICC) starts an investigation into its most high-profile suspect yet – Libya’s “Brother Leader” Muammar Gaddafi – politicians in a far more democratic country, 2,700 miles to the southeast, are also looking to evade the long arm of the law.

Kenya became the 98th member of the International Criminal Court in March 2005, when it ratified the Rome Statute. Over the past three months, the ICC has issued Kenya with summonses for the ‘Ocampo Six’: six individuals, both in and out of government, deemed by Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo to be those most responsible for the post-electoral violence that unfolded in 2007-08, leaving an estimated 1,500 people dead.

Is it really necessary for the ICC to be involved? Could Kenya not prosecute those involved on a purely domestic level? Yes, it could: but only with an adequate institutional framework in place. The Rome Statute provides for the legal principle of complementarity; that is, legitimate local efforts at justice enjoy primacy over international efforts. Politicians in Nairobi, however, have botched various attempts to establish a local tribunal, or to reform their judicial system. Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara has spearheaded the campaign to establish a local tribunal that would meet international standards – in essence, removing the need for ICC involvement. A copy of his bill can be found here. Three attempts to pass the legislative text – February 2009, August 2009 and February 2011 – were, however, defeated as a result of parliamentary infighting. » More

Damaging Education

Waiting for a decent education, photo: TheAdvocacyProject/flickr

According to a report by the Kenyan Teachers Service Commission (TSC), up to 12,600 girls were sexually abused by teachers over a five-year period from 2003 to 2007. Most of the victims were aged between 12 and 15; and in some cases, teachers abused as many as 20 girls before they were reported.

As a result, a total of 600 teachers were fired in 2009, and this year so far the number totals 550. In addition, the survey, done jointly with the non-profit Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), found that 633 teachers were charged with sexual abuse in the five years covered by the study. The report went on to state that these numbers probably only represented the tip of the iceberg, as most cases went unreported.

Failure to report cases of sexual abuse to the police or the TSC was often attributed to either the fear of stigmatization, or the collusion between teaching staff and the officials investigating the abuse. In some cases, education officials even collaborated with the offenders. In addition, many parents did not want to involve the notoriously corrupt police out of fear of repercussions. » More

Kenya’s ‘Digital Villages’

Farmers in Kenya / Photo: Marc Steinlin, flickr

Farmers in Kenya / Photo: Marc Steinlin, flickr


If it comes to fruition, Kenya will be at the forefront of easing the governmental paperwork logjam. According the Daily Nation, the East African country is in the process of planning “digital villages” where citizens can visit to download applications and documents such as birth certificates and file their tax returns online.

The website quotes Information and Communication Minister Samuel Poghisio as stating that by 2012, “every district will have a digital village, and all that people will have to do is to download such forms from the internet.”

According to Capital Business, some of the villages will be set up in post offices, with a focus on rural areas.

But there’s more to the plan than just providing access: According to CB, the Kenyan postal service has suffered an 80 percent drop in revenue due to customers turning to the internet.

“[Postmaster General Retired Major General Mohammed Hussein] Ali said such initiatives would enable them to compensate for the loss that the corporation has suffered due to a drop in revenues collected from sending postal mail,” the report states. Ali is also quoted as saying that the post does not receive financial support from the government.

I’d be interested in knowing how much the post plans to charge.

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