Thursday, March 10, 2011

Press Statement: Who Is Collecting the 'NO to ICC' Signatures?

A Press Statement from Change Associates Trust
Issued in Nairobi on Sunday 6TH March 2011 at 2.30 pm

Change Associates is the organization involved in coordinating the ‘YES to ICC Now, NO to Deferral’ campaign that seeks to collect 1 Million signatures of Kenyans who believe that allowing the ICC cases to continue at the Hague, rather than deferring them as suggested by some parts of the Kenyan government, is the best way of dealing with impunity especially as regards election-related violence. This campaign is founded on 5 key points:

1. That allowing the ICC prosecutions is the only credible way establishing a platform where we, as Kenyans, will get to know the truth around the Post Election Atrocities

2. That the truth that we will learn from this process will immediately and permanently stop political of tribal alliances, which is a political strategy that has already started being implemented again as we head towards the 2012 elections.  We believe this must be stopped immediately if we are to avoid a repeat of the 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 Post Election Atrocities, in next year’s election.

3. That the ICC prosecutions will jumpstart Kenya’s journey of seeking justice for the victims of crimes committed during election cycles, as it will destroy the myth that there exist some Kenyans who are not accountable to justice. This is necessary as we plan the next step in this process: that of establishing local judicial mechanisms to deal with other perpetrators behind the 2007 Post Election Atrocities.

4. That all attempts to prosecute low level perpetrators of the Post Election Atrocities in all the years since 1992 have clearly indicated that our current justice systems are not able, ready and/or willing to prosecute perpetrators of these crimes against humanity at this time. In addition, the investigative and judicial systems that are required to successfully prosecute cases of the magnitude currently at the ICC will not be realized for several years to come, despite passage of the new constitution.

5. That our current political leadership has consistently and overwhelmingly supported the ICC process, even refusing to heed pleas to support the institution of a local tribunal as suggested by the Executive. The complete change from within the same political establishment only after the naming of the ICC suspects 2 months ago therefore clearly indicates that any calls to defer the ICC process are not based on a desire to establish local mechanisms, but on the need of perceived suspects to establish political power to resisting the ICC process.

Campaign Progress:

This campaign was officially launched on 8th February 2011 and in the one month since, has received the support of over 600,000 physical signatures collected by various individuals and organizations across the country, as well as over 12,000 online signatures on the site (, Kenyans in Support of ICC). In addition, the introduction of an SMS signature platform on 25th February 2011 has led to another nearly 9,000 signatures from Kenyans in the week since then. The campaign continues.

The campaign is supported by literally hundreds of individual Kenyans who have been pushing the campaign on the internet through facebook, twitter and other social networks, as well as thousands of individuals and tens of organizations that have been collecting signatures through their personal networks. All the supporters of this campaign have tapped into their usual resources to mobilize the signature collection efforts.

A key point to note is the transparency and openness of the ‘YES to ICC’ campaign.

All those supporting the campaign are conducting their signature collections openly and transparently. Green Belt Movement has even gone to the extent of setting up Signature Collection Tents in Nairobi Public Service Bustops (Kencom, Railways, Ngara & Machakos) as well as at Uhuru Park after paying the government fees required to carry out these activities. Organizations like KPTJ in Nairobi, Muhuri in Mombasa, CSO Network in Kisumu, Mid-Rift Human Rights Network in Nakuru, YDPP in Nyeri, Norford in North Eastern, Human Rights Network in Eldoret, etc, have even held peaceful public street demonstrations on major highways, to launch their signature collection campaigns. The online and SMS signature collection have even been publicly advertised in all the mainstream newspapers, as well as on national media houses, and as the campaign communication coordinators Change Associates has regularly updated the public directly and through the media, on the campaigns progress. (weekly reports). These updates have gone out to all media houses, as well as all stakeholders including government officials, every few days.

The YES to ICC Campaign has been, and continues to be, transparent and open.

As democrats who also greatly respect the right of everyone to hold a contrary opinion to the campaigns position. We therefore readily welcomed the news that a ‘NO to ICC’ signature campaign had been launched to counter what we were doing. This was especially because the expected public competition would provide Kenyans with an opportunity to get publicly discuss both positions, and the supporting information on which each position is based. We also believed that the individuals and/or groups behind this campaign would provide opportunities to help establish the truth about ICC. We were also happy that after the success of the Constitution debates, Kenyans would once again proof their ability to peacefully tolerate different ideologies, and debate them openly.
However, we are concerned at the complete lack of transparency and openness on what is essentially a national issue. This is because despite the reports from the media that this signature collection campaign is happening, no one seems to know who is behind it.

During some of our public discussion forums we have come across individuals who identified themselves as officials of the provincial administration (chiefs & Dos) who informed us that they were involved in the ‘NO to ICC’ campaign, and the media has confirmed that sections of this ministry are involved, but both the Assistant Minister and Permanent Secretary in the ministry insist they are not aware of such actions by their juniors. We have also witnessed a few Cabinet ministers, as well as some members of parliament, state publicly that they support the ‘NO to ICC’ campaign, but no-one is coming out to publicly state what it is about.

On this basis and on behalf of the ‘YES to ICC’ Campaign we hereby demand the following:

1. The official position of the two principals in-charge of the Coalition Government on whether the ‘NO to ICC’ campaign and the collection of signatures against the ICC Cases is a government campaign.

2. The official position from the Orange Democratic Party and the Party of National Unity, as the two parties forming the Coalition Government, on whether the decision to send envoys to various states to lobby for a deferral of the ICC is an official government position, or whether it is a political position of one of the parties.

3. The official position from the Minister in Charge of National Security on whether public resources, including the offices of Chiefs and District Officers (DOs), are being used to support a process that his Permanent Secretary and Assistant Minister are not aware of, and who has given such instructions.
We conclude by telling our political leaders that they must always be guided by what is in the interest of the greatest number of Kenyans. This is why we welcome the ‘No to ICC’ campaign, but we insist that it must be open and transparent.

Executive Director, Change Associates

Below is a copy of one of the No to ICC forms being signed: 

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