John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Uhuru Kenyatta"

Delaying President Kenyatta’s Justice

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta smiles as he appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague October 8, 2014. (Peter Dejong/Pool/Courtesy Reuters) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta smiles as he appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague October 8, 2014. (Peter Dejong/Pool/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, a journalist and adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Last week, two “firsts” occurred in Africa: Read more »

Immunity for African Leaders?

by John Campbell
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African Relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013. (Tiksa Negeri/Courtesy Reuters) Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir arrives for the extraordinary session of the African Union's Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the case of African Relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 12, 2013. (Tiksa Negeri/Courtesy Reuters)

African elites generally do not like the International Criminal Court (ICC) that sits in the Hague. There is a widespread view that the ICC engages in selective prosecution and holds African leaders to a higher standard than others.

Africans ask why the ICC prosecutes Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, but not former vice president Dick Cheney or former prime minister Tony Blair for Iraq-related issues, for example. There have been calls for immunity for African heads of state that are wanted for international crimes. The ICC cases against President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto have particularly focused the debate, and Kenya may withdraw from the Treaty of Rome, which established the ICC. Read more »

Kenya: Violence Coopted by Political Rivalries

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A resident holds a placard as he participates in a protest against the recent attack by unidentified gunmen in the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 17, 2014. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters) A resident holds a placard as he participates in a protest against the recent attack by unidentified gunmen in the coastal Kenyan town of Mpeketoni, June 17, 2014. (Joseph Okanga/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Amanda Roth, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa program. She is a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where she studies international security policy. Read more »

Dust Up Between Pretoria and Kigali

by John Campbell
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (2nd L) pays his respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Alexander Joe/Courtesy Reuteres) Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (2nd L) pays his respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Alexander Joe/Courtesy Reuteres)

South Africa on Monday expelled three Rwandan officials from its embassy in Pretoria. They are charged with complicity in an assassination attempt against a Rwandan dissident living in South Africa. In response, Kigali expelled six South African diplomats. Read more »

In Africa, It’s About Governance

by John Campbell
Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L) and September 1, 2011 file photos. (Pool New/Courtesy Reuters) Combination picture shows Kenya's then-finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya's former Higher Education Minister William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in these April 8, 2011 (L) and September 1, 2011 file photos. (Pool New/Courtesy Reuters)

Many friends and observers of Africa, including myself, see shortcomings in governance as key to the slow rate of economic, social, and political development in some African countries. The converse is also true. Where governance is better, development can be rapid. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has published its annual ranking of African states. The top five in descending order are Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles, South Africa, and Namibia while the bottom five, going from bad to worse, are Zimbabwe, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Somalia. For a second consecutive year, the Foundation has announced that there is no winner of the Ibrahim Prize for outstanding leadership by a chief of state. Established in 2006, the prize’s independent and highly distinguished judges have awarded the prize only three times, to the former chiefs of state of Botswana, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. They have also recognized the work of Nelson Mandela, out of office long before the prize was established, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both of South Africa. Subsequently, I will be blogging on the Ibrahim Index and the Ibrahim Prize. Here I cite them to support the point about the relationship between good governance and social and economic progress, and to point out that poor governance remains a significant challenge for Africa. Read more »

Kenya and the International Criminal Court

by John Campbell
A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 11, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A general view shows the opening session of Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the case of African relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, October 11, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Significant African opinion appears hostile to the International Criminal Court at The Hague (ICC). In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, both under ICC indictment for crimes committed during post-election violence in 2007-2009, included in their campaign rhetoric that the ICC was a tool of Western imperialism. This view is shared by many. Read more »

Nairobi’s Westgate Mall Attack: Unanswered Questions

by John Campbell
Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

The basic narrative of what unfolded at the Westgate Mall still stands. An undetermined number of al-Shabaab operatives entered Nairobi’as upscale Westgate Mall on Saturday, September 21 and killed at least seventy persons, including women and children. The murderers apparently questioned some shoppers, killing those they thought to be Christians while sparing Muslims. At other times they appear to have indiscriminately killed as many as they could. Many, most, or perhaps all of the murderers then slipped away, some apparently after changing clothes. Initial reports claimed that the murderers numbered less than a dozen and included non-Africans, however there remains no hard evidence as to the attackers numbers nor composition. It is also unclear when the murderers vacated the mall, though nominally the “siege” lasted for four days. Read more »