Some members of the opposition in parliament are accusing Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni of exhibiting the highest level of double standards over his remarks against the International Criminal Court.
Their response comes barely a day after President Museveni described the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a big boy club biased with instruments of neo colonial hegemony.
His remarks were in reference to the ongoing trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who made a maiden appearance in the court this week. He said the trial is against a resolution not to have any sitting President subjected to ICC trial.
But Aruu County MP Odongo Otto said President Museveni should not be forgetful that he praised the ICC in 2001 while asking it to investigate the heinous crimes by the Lord’s Resistance Army and its leaders. Otto questioned the president’s change of goal posts especially now that the court is going for presidents.
“ICC opened inquiries and issued arrest warrants on Kony at Museveni’s request. Of course Kony did heinous crimes and no compromise on it; that means ICC is a good court,” Otto said.
Otto cautioned the president not to be selfish and look at himself as the immediate beneficiary of what he is championing for because Africa needs to guard itself from emergency of dictators.
Otto also scoffed at the resolution of granting reprieve to sitting presidents saying all human being are equal and should pay for their sins. Otto added that President is trying to create a storm in a cup of tea in Uhuru trial.
Otto’s views were supported by Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru who said the president needed not to worry since the court doesn’t try everyone.
“ICC doesn’t look for people on anything; they normally look for people on human rights violations, the small things are handled at local level and local courts like in Uganda we have the Human rights commissions, it is only those violations that are beyond,” Mwiru said.
He said if the African presidents want to escape the ICC they should conform to acceptable ways of governance and observance of Human rights.
Mwiru added the president is worried because ICC will easily check African leader’s continuous impunity.
He scoffed at the President for suggesting a review of the ICC treaty. He explained that the treaty has provisions against countries that didn’t ratify it. He said it’s under the same arrangement that Sudanese’ President Omar El Bashir was indicted by the same court.
Mwiru described Museveni’s warning to ICC as an academic exercise meant to send political message to ICC that they have capacity to rally African supporters to protest.
He said it was ironical for the president to complain about the west over ICC yet he succumbs to their other calls like deployment of Ugandan soldiers in foreign territories.
He lauded Kenyatta for subjecting himself to trial and revealed that Kenyans are more cautious with their political action these days since the ICC directive on its leaders.
However government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said the legislators failed to comprehend the president’s message. Opondo said that is was within legal framework to review ICC because it has failed to serve its purpose.
He advised that if the MPS have a case against Museveni they should go ahead to open a file against him in the ICC.