Posted by: Family Media | August 30, 2010

Did the government err in inviting Sudan President Omar al-Bashir for the promulgation of the constitution?

There was pomp and colour on 27th of August during the promulgation of the new constitution. Various representatives from all over the world were present, African leaders came to witness the signing of the new constitution expected to usher in major change, and Kenyans came in droves to be part of history. It was a monumental occasion for the country.

However, in the midst of the celebration, Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir surfaced and was given a seat at the podium next to other dignitaries. So the question begs; being signatories of the criminal court treaty. Was the government justified in inviting a leader who is wanted for war crimes? When the Ministry of Foreign affairs says they invited him in his capacity as the head of a friendly neighbouring country, does it hold any waters? And what are or will be the consequences of his visit to the country? Will Kenya be sanctioned?



  1. The Paradox of Bashir’s presence in Kenya at that time was daring. The challenge for the constitution started on the promulgation day. Kenya being a signatory of the Rome treaty and wanting to comply with the AU agreement on Sudan made her make a choice that brought conflict in her own constitution. That in itself is where the challenge begins on “the perfect” 20year constitution.

    That aside, it now boils down to one challenge and it is what I choose to call the challenge of Rahab in the book of Joshua – Was she right to hide the spies? Kenya would have arrested Bashir and trouble with the Muslim world would have began making her a target of the Islamic nations and Muslims within. As long as it is one of them we have seen them fight for him without thinking whether he/she is right.

    By not arresting Bashir, We have put ourselves on a collision course with ICC. Many of the IDP’s in Kenya seem to think their plight will be brushed aside and it doesn’t matter. Kenya can however say that despite the promulgation, the new Constitution is yet to be implemented. It is like cooking a meal, calling people for a feast but as they sit at the table you can’t say the meal is great till it is served and you are eating.

  2. Traditionally, when you have a function at home you do invite your neighbours especially if he hasn’t wronged you. It is the prerogative of the neighbour to decide whether to attend or not.

    In the case of Bashir’s visit it was one good turn that deserves another as we sent our envoy during his celebrations when he won and sworn in as the president.

    Some countries are not signatories to the Rome treaty and are never challenged as to why.

    Kenya wasn’t wrong in inviting Bashir and I would recommend that we even improve our relations with both northern and southern sudan so that we benefit economically on the opportunities that will go with it. Kenya has to make decisions independently as as long as it security is not threatened, we should look for ways to expand the EA community. If Kenya has to make decisions based on every treaty, She would loose the fundermental reason of good neighbouriness which has been one our strenghts.

    • When we signed the treaty, we put in paper what we can do and what we cannot do. We cannot ignore the rules and expect not to be bashed by the other members. What we can do , because Sudan is our close neighbor and we also don’t want issues with the Islamic world, we should not show the whole world that we are in love with the one man they want behind bars. We cannot be corrupt about this one because the other members and not just Kenyans are involved. We need wisdom form the Lord but in the mean time being still and let God sort us out. Christians, lets pray.

      • Jane I think Kenya acted wisely taking all these into considerations. The AU has put a hold on the arrest of Bashir on its members who are signatories to the Rome statutes. By not arresting Bashir, is Kenya supposed to allign herself to AU or the UN/ICC? What should goevrn us in this is the knowledge of how international law operates but from a lay man’s point of view, If my Uncle sends me to the shop and mom says no Who will I respond in affirmative to?.

        The underlying fact is that Keny cares for the southern Sudan and if the region should experience peace it is a measure of peace to us and we would then look at making Peace in Somalia… Imagine were it not the intervention of Kenya in Uganda in the 80’s How would we be today looking at the region?

  3. Kenya has cherished historical ties with The Sudan as a Nation. We just birthed a new constitution and we needed neighbours to share in our joy. The other day we midwifed The Sudan Peace Accord between the Muslim North and the Christian South with Bashir honouring that accord to date; moreover Bashir attendance of our party offered our President opportunity to intervene in hitherto simmering stalemate over the South Sudan referendum next January; a solution was reached and things are looking good at the moment. Let no one condemn the government over Bashir visit.

  4. Treaty or no treaty,i am dismayed by the continued bashing to the Kenyan leadership by the ICC and others. First,Sudan is our neighbor and we have a responsibility,even to the people of Darfur,to maintain cordial relationship with Khartoum because it’s the only way we can encourage dialogue and peace in the region. When the campaigns for the new constitution were at peak,we all were arguing that even with the flaws in the document,lets pass it and then workout the differences. The condemnation is hypocritical. I wonder why such energies are not directed at the situation in Somalia where innocent citizens are butchered in dozens by day. I,however do not absolve Al-Bashir for his atrocities,he should pay for his sins and crimes against humanity. But i expect ICC and other institutions charged with the responsibility to fight for the rights of disadvantaged to device better ways of dealing with wayward leaders world over to prevent atrocities,rather than wait to arrest and take them to Hague after they have committed crimes and have the cases drag in the ICC courts for ever as we can see with th Charles Taylor,Augosto Pinochet and many others. Kenya has not erred. The world recognizes the government in Khartoum and so is Kenya.

  5. As I think about it, we didnt need to send out the invitation at all. A wiseman sees danger and hides himself. The foolish go on to suffer for it. was it a case of being a people pleaser that has gotten us into this mess?

  6. Yes it was indeed bad for the government to invite such a leader and we need yo end impunity in our country.

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