Someone in Nairobi must be making good money out of selling whistles for it appears to be the whistle blowing season in Kenya. Hot on the heels of Miguna Miguna’s allegations come accusations by a Tony Gachoka, another former aide to Raila Odinga, allegedly implicating the Prime Minister in the 2007-08 post-election violence. Mr Gachoka wants the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to consider his ‘evidence’. But will they? Should they?
TONY GACHOKA – ‘MEDIA PERSONALITY’ AND ‘WHISTLEBLOWER’
Tony Gachoka described himself in a quarter-page advertisement in The Standard on Sunday as a ‘Kenyan Investigative Media Personality’ with ‘a proven track-record as a whistleblower’ and was apparently Prime Minister Odinga’s Chief of Protocol between 2008 and 2009 and before that, he says, ‘a political aide’ from 2005.
The advertisement was a copy of a letter Gachoka sent on August 1st to Ms Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor with the ICC and the woman in charge of handling the trials of Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Francis Muthaura, now scheduled to begin in March 2013.
Gachoka claims his ‘crucial evidence’ is set out in a “comprehensive dossier of 11 documents of more than 3,000 pages” and ‘is extremely prejudicial to some of the most powerful and influential personalities in Kenya today’.
GACHOKA’S CLAIM: PEV ‘COMMISSIONED AND EXECUTED’ BY THE PM
“I have evidence to show that [post-election] violence was premeditated, coordinated, planned, commissioned and executed by order of the PM”, Gachoka told The Star in a telephone interview reported on Monday.
The press coverage of Gachoka’s startling claims was in itself somewhat odd. The Standard on Sunday that carried his advertisement gave the story only a small column of coverage on page 4 of the same issue (‘Another ex-Raila aide seeks ICC eye’). The Star did give it front page billing the next day (‘Gachoka tries to link Raila to chaos’) but The Daily Nation did not mention it at all.
Gachoka told The Star that prior to the 2007 election the ODM followed a policy of “42 against 1” and that the party’s leadership targeted the Kikuyu community but tried to cover up this policy by including Co-operative minister Joseph Nyagah as part of the ‘Pentagon’ group, the party’s main leadership body.
THE KNCHR REPORT GACHOKA’S TAPE RECORDING
Raila Odinga’s name had been included into a report on post-election violence, claims Gachoka but was subsequently edited out of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights’ (KNCHR) report ‘On the Brink of the Precipice: A Human Rights Account of Kenya’s Post 2007 Election Violence’.
Gachoka also claims that he has a tape recording of KNCHR commissioner Hassan Omar Hassan discussing the report with Raila Odinga.
The Kenya Forum admittedly has doubts about anyone calling themselves a ‘Kenyan Investigative Media Personality’ however Tony Gachoka’s claims do raise some interesting questions that need answering.
First up, why now Mr Gachoka? Why over four years after the event have you now decided to reveal all? Gachoka says he has ‘agonized’ over the decision and had hoped that the ICC’s investigations would have revealed the truth without his intervention but now, despite his ‘great trepidation’, he has been ‘spurred by the desire to deliver justice to the victims of violence and help heal my homeland’. Mmmm….
The KNCHR, and perhaps Hassan Omar Hassan in particular, need to confirm or deny whether their original report into post-election violence in any way cited Raila Odinga.
The question of whether the ICC will consider Tony Gachoka’s ‘evidence’ will in the meantime be decided on Thursday.
3,000 pages in 11 documents and a tape recording is potentially a lot of evidence but equally, potentially, much ado about nothing. It could just be a would-be ‘media personality’ trying to get publicity to raise his profile but it should be considered and reviewed says the Kenya Forum. Not to look at it, even if it is adjudged to be nonsense, will leave the ICC at risk of appearing to be running a political trial.
Related Kenya Forum posting: ‘The Internet, power and responsibility: The lessons to learn from Raila Odinga’s ‘official blog’, Oct. 2011