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Friday, October 5th, 2018


Women and future of South Sudan



South Sudan has been in a protracted state of conflict since the fallout between political rivals President Salva Kiir and his former Deputy Riek Machar sparked civil war and reignited violence between tribal groups across the country in 2013. Over 2 million people have fled the country as refugees since then, over 80% of whom are women and children. Many areas of the country are severely food insecure and at high risk of famine. The political and national conflict dynamics have also activated pre-existing familial and tribal tensions, which have come to the fore with communities struggling over access to resources due to food insecurity and economic instability. The persistence of conflict has normalized violence among South Sudanese citizens: from 2015-2017 there was a 15% increase in the number of South Sudanese who believed violence against another tribe was acceptable. Search for Common Ground’s research also found that the most prominent determinant of a South Sudanese person’s experience with conflict is location. This means that the manifestation of conflict are different across the country and the perceptions and attitudes of South Sudanese about peace and conflict in different areas also differs. Thus, efforts to mitigate violence must be context-specific and respond to conflict drivers in the community. National dynamics have ignited tribal divisions and pushed local conflicts between divided groups to quickly escalate and cycle into violence.

Since 2013, a series of ceasefires and tenuous peace arrangements at the national level have attempted to quell the violence and promote stability; despite these efforts, however, intercommunal conflict and tensions remain high. At the time of writing, negotiations are ongoing both under the official auspices of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and an agreement has been signed between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar mediated by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum, Sudan, and attended by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. While these discussions and the arrangement have spurred some hope among South Sudanese looking for a political resolution of the conflict, the national conflict has affected all of South Sudan’s communities, and a political resolution is necessary but insufficient to put the country on a clear path to peace and stability. While the South Sudanese politicians who contribute to many of the national conflict dynamics discuss arrangements for the future of South Sudan at the national and international level, the people of South Sudan are facing violence in their communities emerging from everyday challenges, heightened by an environment of impunity, instability, and indignation nationally.

Women are intricately linked to and are part of many of the drivers and manifestations of communal conflict in South Sudan. Not only are women and children more likely to be victims of violence, but issues closely related to women are among the most prominent drivers of inter-communal violence in the country today, such as cattle raiding to pay for high dowries, land disputes around inheritance laws that prohibit the passage of land to women, and tensions surrounding marriage. Academics and practitioners often assume that because women face such severe consequences of conflict, they are natural advocates for peace. However, recent research shows that women in South Sudan are just as likely as men to believe that violence is a valid way to solve conflicts. Despite this, women remain under-represented and removed from peacebuilding efforts and peace processes at the community level, and this lack of engagement demonstrates a clear failure to recognize their roles in contributing to violence and peace.

Holistic peace in South Sudan necessitates inclusive and multi-track engagement at the national and sub-national levels. Conflict resolution initiatives need to both respond to local drivers of conflict and incorporate these drivers and solutions to address them into national level peace processes. As the international community formulates new ways to prevent violence and protect civilians, these interventions should be context-specific and involve all stakeholders to the conflict, including women. Without incorporating women into local and national peacebuilding efforts, the attitudes and actions of nearly half the population will remain unaddressed, undermining the potential for long-term stability. To build a constituency for peace at the local level in South Sudan, international and domestic efforts must involve men and women in initiatives to transform knowledge, attitudes, skills and behavior to foster non-violence, advance social cohesion and reconciliation across dividing lines, and promote peace. Women’s role in violence and in promoting peace cannot be ignored.

This policy paper highlights opportunities to engage women at the local level to address community conflict issues, promote peace, and empower women as agents of change in South Sudan. It follows the analysis and findings of Search for Common Ground’s November 2017 Building a Constituency for Peace in South Sudan, which examined annual data on conflict perceptions and attitudes collected over a four-year span illuminate various opportunities for actors interested in peace to constructively engage. This locally conducted research leverages experiences and expertise from South Sudanese women, as well as analysis and recommendations from South Sudanese practitioners and scholars working to build peace in the country.

Yes, counties should be paid for water and other resources

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The current conflict over water between Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria and Nairobi County government needs to be handled with utmost care.

When the Water Act 2002 came into effect, it created several bodies with distinct but complementary roles that saw the sector work harmoniously towards water management, regulation, financing and provision.

Upon the promulgation of the 2010 constitution, water provision became a county government function leading to the enactment of the Water Act 2016 to align the previous law to the new constitution.

Water is a natural resource and, therefore, a national resource. The provision of water is vested in the county governments through the water service provision companies.

Water being a basic right as stipulated in the Bill of Rights and Article 43 of the Constitution, it means that the narrative by the Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui and Nairobi Governor and MCAs’ that Murang’a residents do not deserve compensation for the water that goes to Nairobi is a fallacy.

The leadership of Murang’a County, and indeed other cross-border water projects like that of Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu County should engage soberly and the Senate should step in to resolve the matter.

The Elgeyo Marakwet County Assembly in its 2015 Finance Bill levied Sh3 million to Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company for water abstracted from Chebara Dam and Kaptagat forest, but this is yet to be implemented.

In the Water Act 2016, there is no clear body that is mandated to conserve the water sources or plough back finances that are levied for abstraction to water service providers for conservation purposes.


It is therefore imperative that there is need for a legislation on how the country’s water catchment should be conserved to compliment the Kenya Forest Service and the Water Towers Agency.

Counties should be at the centre of spearheading conservation of water catchment areas within their jurisdiction.

Water Resource Users Associations, which were formed to conserve and handle water conflict resolutions at the grassroots level, hardly exist because they have no finances and even what they get from Water Resource Authority and Water Service Providers as social responsibility cannot conserve an inch of our forests.

Yes, water source counties should be compensated by those counties that receive their water to finance conservation of the resource.

David Chemweno, Save Kenya Water Towers

Elgeyo Marakwet.

Probe volleyball failure

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The national women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, has recorded a disastrous performance at the ongoing Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan. This raises serious question about the future of volleyball in the country.

Although the team made a stunning start by winning the first match against Kazakhstan, it did not go far.

It lost all the subsequent matches against Serbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, hence failed to qualify to the knockout stage.

The lacklustre show is a clear manifestation of how the women’s volleyball standards have plummeted in the county. That the standards are failing goes without saying.


Notably, the poor show in Japan comes a month after the junior team failed to qualify for Women’s World Under-20 Volleyball Championship due for next year in Mexico.

Cameroon has slowly emerged as Kenya’s main rival besides Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.

It is Cameroon which bundled Kenya out in the preliminaries of the Under-20 Championships even though Rwanda and Egypt got the Africa slots for the Mexico event.

But the results were hardly surprising. It is the very Cameroon that dented Malkia Striker’s chances of participating in the 2012 and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Cameroon also beat Kenya 3-0 to win the Africa Volleyball Championships last year.

All these go to demonstrate Kenyan women teams have lost their grip on the Club championships.

The last Kenyan club to win an international women volleyball tournament was Kenya Prisons in 2013. Since then it has been on a free fall.

Kenya Volleyball Federation and the government now need to wake up and smell the coffee. The standards will continue to fall if no structures are put in place to identify and nurture talent.

Punishing MPs for vote retrogressive

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Political parties are vehicles for campaigns to national leadership. They form the unit for political mobilisation and engagement.

As political entities, they are guided by democratic principles. Not only must they promote democracy but must live it.

That is the only way they give confidence to the public that they can be entrusted with the instruments of power.

Increasingly, we have seen political parties shrinking democratic space by whipping MPs to vote in a particular manner in Parliament and to act according to pre-determined lines entirely pushed by party leaders and hawks. This is a threat to democracy.

Recent row over tax proposals made by President Uhuru Kenyatta after he rejected the Finance Bill that had earlier been passed by Parliament brought this matter to the fore.

In the countdown to the second vote in Parliament, Jubilee and ODM leaders attempted to rally their troops to vote along party lines — in fact, according to the wishes of their leaders.

But that was not to be. MPs went on to vote according to their wishes and in exercise of their democratic rights, which fact did not go down well with party leaders.

Parties may hold particular positions on certain matters but cannot curtail rights of MPs, whose first obligation is to the voters and whose interest they must represent at all times.

Subjugating voters’ rights and interest is an affront to democracy.

As we report elsewhere in this edition, the Minority Coalition in Parliament is seeking to shuffle its members who head various House committees.

Ordinarily, that would be treated as routine administrative task. But in this particular case, the motivation is suspect.

MPs who are viewed as independent minded, often taking own positions on national issues guided by the common good, are being targeted for ouster from committees.

Unless there are other facts unknown to the public, committee leaders or members should not just be thrown out at the behest of a few party apparatchiks.

We must guard against party dictatorship, which left unchecked, permeates to other aspects of politics and ultimately undermines the principles of good governance.

Parliament requires strong committees to check the Executive.

Committee members and their chairpersons should be individuals with sound competence in their respective areas of specialisation.

Additionally, they must be people with the courage and discernment to challenge the status quo and stand for what is right.

Populating the committees with subservient individuals is a disservice to the House and the nation at large.

Appointment to the House committees should not be turned into rewards for party loyalty. House Speaker should guard against arbitrary shuffling of committees to serve selfish party or political interests.

Ghana's 91-day bill edges up to 13.41 pct

ACCRA, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The yield on Ghana’s 91-day treasury bill edged up to 13.41 percent at an auction on Friday, compared with 13.40 percent at the last sale on Sept. 28, the central bank said.

The Bank of Ghana said it had accepted all 166.86 million cedis ($33.78 million) worth of bids tendered for the paper, which will be issued on Monday.

For full details, click here: here.pdf ($1 = 4.9400 Ghanaian cedis) (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; editing by David Evans)

Stalking her way into love

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A little over a month ago I came back to my desk from warming my 10am snack to find a missed call from a number I didn’t recognise.

I returned the call. It was a lady. She sounded young-ish – late 20s or, at most, 32 years old. She said, “Is this Biko?” I said, “This is him,” because I once heard Samuel L. Jackson say that and I thought it was pretty grand: This is him. She said she wanted to run something by me. I said, “Oh, something like what?” Her memoir, she said. Can she come over to my office with it for review? she asked. Now, if I haven’t read Nelson Mandela’s memoir yet, I don’t think I can find time for any other memoir.

Plus most memoirs are exhausting. People want to start a pumpkin farm and write a memoir about it. Or adopt many cats and write a memoir.


I asked her, “What’s your story about, in a nutshell?” She said she lost all her savings to a conman, got very broke, her marriage ended, she lost her child to her ex-husband, nearly went crazy and then beat the madness and started from nothing. Oh. I wanted to ask if the conman in question was the ex-husband but we hadn’t been that well acquainted.

Nonetheless it didn’t seem like stuff I was dying to read. “Email it to me.” I said. “I can’t promise to read it in its entirety, maybe a few chapters and comment on prose and things.” She didn’t email it.

She called two days later and because I hadn’t saved her number I picked up without knowing who it was. “What are you up to?” she asked. I looked at the number and asked, “I’m sorry, who is this?” She said she was the girl with the memoir. I said, “You didn’t send the memoir. What happened?” She said she would prefer it if she brought it to me. “You printed the whole thing out?” I asked incredulously. She said she did. I said, “Listen, it would be easier to email. By the way, who did you say gave you my number?” She giggled like it was a big secret. We hung up.

She never emailed the memoir. A week later, a number called just before 8pm. I never take calls after 7pm because there is nothing that is so urgent that it can’t wait until the next day. But the person kept calling. Finally, I picked thinking that the caller must be a family member in trouble. It was her. And she is no family.

I was irritated. “Look, Joyce, if you don’t send your memoir I can’t help you. And it’s a bit late to call, no? Can we speak tomorrow?” She sounded apologetic. We hung up. I don’t know if this is related to this or not, but you be the judge: That same night I dreamt that I went to get a shave and my barber was not there. In his place was a Buddha.

The next day she messaged me asking how my day was. This time I saved her number and ignored the message. Then she wrote a long spiel about how her day was. I ignored. Then she wrote some more about her life. I ignored. The next night she said goodnight. I ignored. The next morning, I woke up to her message: how did you sleep? I started thinking that perhaps she thought we were lovers. She sent sporadic messages the whole day. And the next and the next. I ignored. One evening, at 5pm, she called. I ignored. She wrote, “I just want to be your friend.” I blocked her. Over the last few weeks she has called from different numbers, all which I have blocked. She sent an email the other day saying that she is sorry for hounding me and that she will never do it again. I ignored. Three hours later she wrote another email asking me to recommend hotels in Diani. I flagged her email as SPAM.

Once in a while my phone rings from a strange number and when I pick up, I hear someone breathing. Now, I don’t know how men breathe because I have never been that close to a man but I have been close to multiple females and I know how women breathe and the person who keeps calling me is female. It’s her.

So, yes, I have a stalker. Not the first time, though. I have Googled how to deal with stalkers. One of them is to contact the police. Obviously this advice wasn’t tailored to the Kenyan market because I think the police will laugh at me. They will ask, “Wewe ni mwanaume aina gani? Unaogopa mwanamke?” The other way is to ignore her, which isn’t working because she thinks I’m playing hard to get and soon I will have a change of heart and we will have a relationship. Maybe even have a baby.

I find it as pesky as I find it bothersome. It’s also not romantic at all. I think if you are going to hound someone on phone and not talk, at least practice your breathing. Or hold your breath. It’s also creepy. But mostly, I find it very sad that one would go to great heights to acquire different numbers and keep calling someone who doesn’t want to talk to them. I told a friend and she said, “Good. Now you understand how women feel when a man you don’t like keeps hounding you.” So every bad thing a man suffers is some sort of payback for all the things a woman goes through? Anyway, do you think the Buddha dream and this stalker are somewhat related?

Why won’t he take care of his child?

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Q: I have a baby with the man I love. He has seen the baby only twice since she was born yet we live in the same location. He does not communicate and when I reach out, he is indifferent.

What I don’t understand is his lack of compassion towards his own baby. He does not support us emotionally or financially. I have seen that on social media, he posts pictures of himself with other women having fun. Am I wasting time with this man or should I quit? Please help.


I know what you are going through, lacking financial and emotional support from your baby daddy. Some of the questions that may arise from this may include, were you both ready to have the kid? Did you discuss it? It is important to seek a serious talk before concluding that he is wasting your time.

Evaluate if you both love each other and are ready for the situation. If after the talk he still doesn’t change, walk out. Calvin Queens, via email.

You are seeing a noncommittal man who you should consider having a candid talk with. This talk will enable you to lay down all your concerns and how you feel about the entire relationship, how he treats you and the baby you have with him and also remind him that he should take responsibility as a father figure. In case it becomes difficult to meet him then you can involve a close relative or friend to facilitate your meeting. Besides, there are legal channels you can also use to enhance his commitment in case it becomes hard for you to convince him by word of mouth.

Juma Felix, via email.

I’m sorry girlfriend, but it looks like you got together with a deadbeat. These kinds of men don’t change – all they will give you is an emotional headache as you try to chase him for commitment. Just leave him alone and figure out a way to raise your baby because that’s who needs your emotional strength right now. You can meet with other single mothers who have walked the same path so that you see how they have done it, and find some support.

Gracey M, via email.

A man who is not interested in a long-term commitment with a woman tends not to be interested in her child either. It is important for you to reconcile yourself with this fact. Once you do, you will know the way forward. This truth may be painful to take right now, but please understand that the pain will go away after a while – and you will move on and raise your child and find love again. Be strong for your child.

Sue Mwaniki, Nairobi.


Maurice Matheka, a relationship counsellor answers:

Your predicament sounds very much like a classic case of two adults meeting and a relationship blossoming to the point where intimacy produces a baby.

Unfortunately for you, for some men, such cases do not translate into any form of exclusivity or commitment – which means that loving you was most likely not part of the package he was offering hence why you see him parading with other women on social media.

Before you give up it would be advisable to tell him that you seek exclusivity and a future with him, or that at least you would like him to maintain a connection with his child. The idea is to give him a choice to make so that you can know where you stand with him.

Expect a yes or no but do not force him to be part of a relationship setting he is not ready to be in; that will only cause you future heartaches with a man who is constantly indifferent.

Stars preparations in limbo as government delays funds

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Financial challenges have emerged as the biggest threat to Kenya’s plans of beating Ethiopia over two legs in their Group ‘F’ matches of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next week even as the country seeks to end a 14-year jinx by qualifying for Africa’s premier football competition.

Harambee Stars, who are preparing to play Ethiopia away on Wednesday before hosting the return leg match in Nairobi four days later, need Sh25 million for the two assignments. The Sports Ministry has provided the team with Sh7.2 million, leaving a deficit of Sh17.8 million even as Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia insists that the money provided is enough for the team.

A team of local-based players leaves for Addis Ababa Sunday, where they are expected to link up with 14-foreign-based players before taking an hour’s flight to Bahir Dar, situated northwest of the Ethiopian capital for Wednesday’s clash.

According to Mwendwa, poor preparations for Wednesday’s fixture has been occasioned by inadequate funds from the sports ministry, leaving the federation’s officials between a rock and a hard place, with the reverse fixture planned for October 14 at Kasarani Stadium.

On average, the team needs Sh15 million for accommodation, tickets and allowances for each competitive match.

“They (ministry) were able to send us Sh7.2m last night out of the Sh25m we had requested for on August 18 for Ethiopia fixtures. This amount only covers flights and accommodation. As I speak to you, we do not have money to pay players and coaches’ allowances and other logistics around these games,” Mwendwa told journalists Friday in Nairobi.

He added: “The ministry is telling us they are not adequately funded, we are asking the Treasury to please help us, we don’t know what we are going to do when we come back.”

According to the Sports Act, it is the duty of the sports ministry to fund all national teams with money from the National Sports Fund.

According to Mwendwa, FKF submitted an annual budget of Sh889 million but since last month’s 1-0 win over Ghana in Nairobi, the federation has accumulated debts running into millions of shillings.

“We applied for Sh19 million for Ghana and Malawi games but the ministry gave us Sh4 million and we talked to suppliers to give us things on credit with promise that the ministry would sort out the payment,” he said.

When contacted, sports Principal secretary Peter Kaberia insisted that the money released was sufficient for the team.

Kenya’s own spice girl

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“In high school, I began making my own food seasoning. Boarding school food wasn’t good food. I remember thinking when I first tasted it, ‘This food is not yummy like Mummy’s food’. I made the seasoning at home using whichever ingredients were available in our kitchen – onions, dania, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cumin, pepper, red pilipili; pretty much what we still use in Chibundiro, although now they’re to standard measures. The seasoning is ready eat. It can also be used in the final stages of cooking, or as a marinade, garnish, topping or in curries. I’d sprinkle it on my plate.

“I grew up in Bamburi, Mombasa. ‘Chibundiro’ is a word from my Chonyi mother tongue, it means ‘mortar and pestle’. My love for cooking is from my mum. She’s a wonderful cook. I’m the second in a family of six so she taught me a lot while I helped her in the kitchen as a child. I also liked to make my own little jiko and sufurias from old tins, and my mother would give me some food to cook.

“Aside from the seasoning, I also sold biscuits to my schoolmates for pocket money, and bought my own camera to become a photographer. Sometimes I’d send some money home, sometimes to my siblings in school.

“I went to Kenyatta University in 2010 for my first degree in economics and finance. It was daunting coming to live in Nairobi because I’d not been here before. I had a great time in school, even went into campus politics in my second year. My campaign slogan was, ‘Kiti apewe kiti’. I was elected as congress lady to the student’s association and in my third year, as vice president. I went into politics because I wanted to make sure we – the students – wouldn’t strike and disrupt learning. Well, we didn’t.

“My business took shape in my final year, when a non-profit asked students in my campus to pitch business ideas and mine was selected. I was given Sh4,800. I used it to buy plastic jars from Industrial Area and ingredients from Githurai market. I cooked in my hostel room. I’ll never forget the feeling of accomplishment when the plastic jars of my seasoning were lined up on the exhibition table. I was elated but still lacked confidence in myself.

“I got a job with one of the ‘Big Four’ audit firms before I graduated. I was in forensic auditing and investigation. I reported on March 1, 2013. I travelled around Kenya and Africa a lot, even to Europe a couple of times. I was always aware that being employed was an opportunity for my hands-on growth, so I made a deliberate effort to rotate departments from tax to restructure, and learn as much as I could.

“Chibundiro was my side job then. I was blessed to get a boss who’d give me leeway to attend to it when it asked of me. I rented a small room where I lived and hired someone to cut and prepare the ingredients during the day. I’d cook and package them in the evening for delivery the next day. A majority of our orders were from our Facebook page. We were making about 10 standard jars a day – hot chilli, mild chilli and no chilli. “I could balance audit work and Chibundiro, but I knew in my heart I wouldn’t be in employment for long – I was giving more than 10 hours a day to my employer and two hours to Chibundiro; my vision for Chibundiro would only be realised if I’d give it more time.

“In early 2016, I left to become a senior consultant with another audit firm. We were making 40 jars a day by then, then by 2017, 80 jars. In early 2018, 400 jars. Now we make 1,000 jars a day for retail and export.

“Anyway, in 2016, when I was in the second audit firm, Chibundiro started getting in the way of work and the relationship with my boss. It was time to jump ship. I left for Christmas that December and didn’t return in the New Year.


“All along, we’d been selling made-to-order jars to referrals and through our Facebook page. It wasn’t a sustainable business model. I approached supermarkets to stock us. The negotiations were lengthy and quite tasking, but in 2017 we were in Chandarana supermarkets. We’ve gotten into five other chains since and two months ago, into Naivas supermarkets. Retailing pushes large volumes but it affects our cash flows because some pay after 45 days, others 60.

“Retailing also meant scaling up production. We’d been doing everything by hand since we began – scrubbing carrots, tearing dania, crushing garlic, blending them to pulp. Three machines I’d imported from China arrived recently. The machines will cut our production time and increase output. I got an interest-free loan from a non-profit to finance the machines.

The team has 12 permanent employees, two admins, three casuals and 70 independent distributors. “We launched a new product range last July – ‘Siri ya chai’, ‘Siri ya pilau’ and ‘Siri ya utamu’. I’m aligning Chibundiro to be the leading all-natural seasoning in all households in Kenya.”

Palestine’s real intentions in taking the United States to ICJ

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Palestine has taken the United States to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Whoever masterminded this move is a genius; it is checkmate on a confused legal matter.

The Court would have wanted to avoid it, but it has now been put between a rock and hard place.

The matter is based on a technicality, which may seem quite irrelevant and even obsolete — the transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel considers to be its capital.

However, for many countries, Jerusalem is an occupied territory. After all, East Jerusalem was part of Jordan until 1967, when Israel annexed it after the Six-Day War.

To be fair, moving the embassy to Jerusalem was not Trump’s idea. This decision was made by the U.S. Congress in October 1995. Bush, Clinton and Obama liked it, though they did not dare to implement it. Trump promised to do so… and he did it.

Israel and the U.S. celebrated the move, and encouraged other countries to do so. Perhaps none of them could foresee the Palestinian response, its wit and the legal consequences.

Palestine’s claim seems flat and perhaps farfetched. They argue that this move violates Article 3 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR). But beneath this superfluous tantrum there is a hidden legal bomb…the recognition of Palestine as a State.


Angela Wahito, a young Graduate Assistant, was taken aback by the fact that the Palestinian government did not seek orders to have the embassy relocated to Tel Aviv. She thought this could have a ripple effect on the international community. She argued that there was some ulterior motive behind this matter, and she was right.

There is a huge legal tsunami behind Palestine’s claim. Kasyoka Mutunga says that the great classic international law professors like H. Lauterpatch and Louis Henkin may be knocking their coffins from the inside, pleading with any passer-by to help them tear apart their book chapters on state recognition.

Palestine has put the ICJ between a rock and hard place. This Court has jurisdiction over state complaints, so if Palestine is not a state, then it has no business before the ICJ.

The Court must decide some preliminary issues before considering the merits of the complaint. These preliminary issues hit the nail on the head. They are the crux of the matter: Is Palestine a state or not?


If the Court says NO it will surely be looked down upon by 136 states and a huge section of the international press. If the Court says YES, it will be looked down upon by two powerful and influential states, who so far have not shown any signs of bowing to anyone on this matter.

Palestine has been recognised as a state by 136 members of the United Nations. The UN General Assembly granted Palestine the non-member observer status in November 2012.

The United States and Israel do not recognise Palestine’s statehood. Considering that only states have standing before the ICJ, the question will most probably loom large.

The case is so intricately tied to the question of state sovereignty that any attempt made by the ICJ to evade it will be unfruitful. Palestine structured the issues in such a way that the Court will be forced to either directly or indirectly pronounce itself on the issue of Palestinian statehood.

Another important issue before the Court is the exclusion of Israel from the proceedings. Some may argue that Israel is an interested party and hence capable of invoking a legitimate ”legal interest”. Certainly, the matter involves the location of the U.S. embassy in Israel.

If the judges of the ICJ could be convinced that the matter cannot be resolved without affecting Israel’s rights, then they will have to strike it out.

However, even if the Court was to find that the case is inadmissible for the lack of inclusion of Israel, it would still have pronounced itself on perhaps the most controversial matter since Elvis’ death— Palestine’s statehood.

Many argue that the Court will find a way to elude the case in whole by disallowing it on the basis of what would seem as a technicality. There is not a politically shyer court than the ICJ.


Whatever the case, Palestine has adopted a litigation strategy that is designed to pursue all possible legal avenues to put pressure on Israel and the U.S.

International law is changing. The Court, which is an apolitical body, is being asked to decide a political problem like the recognition of states and governments; the statehood of Palestine. This means that just like in Kenyan politics, the future of international conflicts will also be increasingly judicialised.

In the past, states fought each other to destruction for conquest. In the aftermath of the two brutal world wars, states understood that the negotiating table was a better option.

But today’s world is growing radically intolerant, unable to dialogue. Thus, states are having recourse to the judicial organs hoping to settle political conflict in a judicial way.

This will work for a while until the wheels of justice are totally eroded. Then the court’s reputation and perceived objectivity will have been desecrated on the altar of politics.

This will be the last straw in the politicisation of international law.

Perhaps Sir Hersch Lauterpacht was right after all, and international law is at the vanishing point.

Dr Franceschi is the dean of Strathmore Law School. [email protected]; Twitter: @lgfranceschi