When ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the chief came to town last week, I expected she would receive the same sort of shabby reception handed out to guests of state whose services are no longer required. Remember Koffi Anan who has since dropped from peace maker to meddling tourist in four short years. Surprisingly, the usual suspects and their rabble rousers were extremely well behaved. Even after she left, not much was heard from the corner of the ‘defenders-of-Kenyan-sovereignty’. I suppose, any keener observer would not have failed to notice that Bensouda is a world apart from her predecessor. The outspoken Luis Moreno Ocampo was easy to pick on. His speech was halting (Argentinian English requires accustoming) and he looked more like a rocker than a prosecutor. It did not help that he was perceived as Caucasian lending well to the foreign-agents conspiracy theories and he loved to bask in media spotlight going as far as adopting a cheetah. It is not simple using the same spin on a smart Gambian woman.
The ICC prosecutor epitomizes the image of a strong black woman, the kind that most Kenyan men address respectful as ‘madam’. Bensouda cuts a figure of authority talks with gravitas and walks with a firm stride. Sexist jokes would just come across as lame. It does not help that her intellectual mettle is not subject for debate. Her international record speaks for itself. Her career path is dotted with distinguished global honours. To name a few, ICJ International Jurist, World Peace Through Law Award and she made Times magazine 100 issue annual list as one of the most influential people in the world.
So one can only conclude that Kenyan politicians have learnt a vital lesson since Ocampo’s visit. It is generally not a smart move to make fun of a crocodile before you cross the river.
Image source: irfj.org