Monday, May 12, 2008

Pardon for poll chaos ruled out!

There is a story in the Daily Nation that says; "Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and two Cabinet ministers Sunday said those who committed crimes against humanity during the post-election violence should be punished". Let’s get to the basics. We all need to understand that in criminology, a political crime is one involving overt acts or omissions, which prejudice the interests of the state, its government or the political system. In such circumstances it is to be distinguished from state crime.

In the Kenyan situation, during the course of the counting of the votes in the last General election, it is the state that broke her own constitutional and criminal laws first. Considering what transpired and putting into perspective all what happened and what is being pushed by a certain group of politicians, it looks like those politicians are trying to overlook their own colossal crimes and define as political and criminal crimes any behavior that was carried out by certain people perceived as having been a threat, real or imagined. Common logic dictates that such criminalization and victimization may not lead to a range of human rights, civil rights, and freedoms being curtailed or abused.

Detaching the motive and reasons that triggered what happened in Kenya is in itself a calculated but ill-conceived move that in the short run may be convenient for those who hold power but it will lay a dangerous precedence that will in turn breed acrimony and ethnic tension which may in turn trigger another round of ethnic violence. In fact it goes against the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation that is being advocated by those who are working hard to resettle the IDPs. Thus, while a number of those who support the current regime may consider criminalization of politically-motivated anti-social behavior while ignoring the fact that majority of the offenders were driven by more extreme political, ideological, religious or other beliefs, there may be a question of the morality of laws or prosecutions which simply criminalize ordinary political dissent.

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