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Kenyan-Born Professor Defends Criticism of Kenya’s Leadership

  • James Butty

Law professor Makau Mutua writes articles critical of Kenya's president and deputy president in Kenya newspapers

Law professor Makau Mutua writes articles critical of Kenya's president and deputy president in Kenya newspapers

A Kenyan-born professor in the United States declares he is not calling for regime change in Kenya, but believes having a leader under indictment is not good governance.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto face charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly coordinating the 2007 post-election violence during which more than 1,000 people were killed.

Makau Mutua has commented in Kenya newspapers that he has serious doubts about the legitimacy of both men to serve as leaders of Kenya. He lamented last year’s election of Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ruto.

Mutua is dean of the State University of New York's law school in Buffalo, New York. He teaches human rights and international law, has written books on Kenya and served in Kenya on a constituional commission and a task for truth and reconciliation.

“These two individuals, as you know, were elected in 2013 while they were under indictment. I have not made a secret of it, but I thought the election was highly compromised, most probably stolen," he told VOA. "In any case, I think it was wrong for Kenyans to elect individuals who are indicted for crimes against humanity. And so, I have serious questions about the legitimacy of the regime under Kenyatta and Ruto,” he said.

Mutua would not directly say whether he has been calling for regime change in writings, as claimed by his critics. But, he again said the ICC should continue to pursue both men for crimes against humanity.

“I think that you will agree with me that having a leader of a country who is under indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity is not a good thing,” he said.

He accused the African Union of adopting a hypocritical position when it comes to the ICC and Kenya and the Ivory Coast.

“The African Union position is not only hypocritical, it is very, very sad and it’s really a position that supports impunity. At the same time, the AU is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. On the one hand, it supports the ICC process against former President (Laurent) Gbagbo of the (Ivory) Coast, while opposing the trial of Mr. Kenyatta,” Mutua said.

Accused of spreading ethnic hatred

David Nyekorach Matsanga, chief executive officer of the Pan-African Forum and Africa World Media, called Mutua a “paper mercenary”, who through his weekly columns in the Sunday Nation newspaper and most recently in the Sunday Standard has been spreading ethnic hatred and calling for a regime change in Kenya similar to Egypt and Tunisia.

Matsanga said he and others have decided to defend Africa and Kenya against what he calls Mutua’s malaise.

“In the last three weeks, I have seen Professor Makau Mutua pen several dangerous articles that can bring this nation called Kenya to a regime change, articles that can actually divide the people of Kenya.

"And, therefore, I have decided, with very many people, that on a weekly basis we shall be penning a leaflet so that every day we shall bring out the facts according to what he has written in his weekly Sunday articles,” Matsanga said.

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