Clara Gutteridge a British Human Right investigator whose job is to find victims of enforced disappearances has been deported from Kenya. The local newspapers are mute, blank or, assuming I did not look in the right places, slow in providing this information to their readers.
Foreign correspondents are more aware of what is going on in Kenya.
Correction; the Kenyan media is gagged by higher authorities not to be too zealous in providing information.
Clara Gutteridge was looking into the illegal deportation and detention of terror suspects from Kenya to Uganda.
Her search was probably uncomfortable and collaterally enhanced Uganda’s infringement of human rights and treatment of political opponents. Also, it could have raised questions about the Kenya’s government insistence in siding with the alleged perpetrator of crime against humanity by the International criminal court in The Hague.
Let me hush that the mere presence of people like Clara Gutteridge triggers collateral damage.
The Kenyan vice President’s world excursions to gather opinion in favor of having the ICC alleged suspects delayed or judged at home are well documented. The government even approved rallies idolizing these suspects.
The blessing by the mother of one of the suspects is front news while the twenty-five Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) who died for eating cats, because they have not received food from the governments in months, is allocated to sections of news lacking prime.
An IDP is someone who leaves his residence due to internal conflict. In Kenya the internal conflict was triggered by a rigged election seeing almost 1300 killed and almost half million IDP in 2007-2008.
Strange things have happened in Kenya. People turned up dead with their face removed with acid, other are kidnapped or killed in broad day light, extra judicial killers are in the prowl but the news are not investigated. One page spread to tell the mass that this-and-that happened is enough.
Anyway, I believe that it must be quite nerve-racking to be an ICC prosecution witness in Kenya.
Like Linus the media takes its blue blanket, sucks its thumb, close its eyes and gesture go away, go away in its nightmares.
It is pure coincidence that van Pelt, Peanut’s character, and Gitahi, the CEO of the Nation Media Group (NMG), share the same first name. NMG is the largest Media house with TV channels and lots of newspapers and magazine in East Africa.
The government set the tone and the media execute it in favor of some of the alleged criminals vying for the most important post of the country. Well, it seems that Kenya may have suspects of crimes against humanity declared or not innocent running for the presidency in 2012.
I think that Clara Gutteridge touched a raw nerve in Kenya. Anyway, she is safe and it shows that being white and having a British passport helps. She is not African waiting to go to The Hague as a witness for the prosecution.
Strange, at time, Africa makes me think of people witnessing a drive by shooting while waiting at a bus stop.
Update: It has taken over one week for the Kenyan newspapers to inform of Clara Gutteridge’s deportation. According to the newspapers her deportation was due to safeguard national interest and to avoid any embarrassment to the government.
- Kenya deports British human rights defender (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- International justice in Africa: The International Criminal Court bares its teeth (economist.com)
- Flirting With the News in Kenya (haaren.wordpress.com)