By SAM OMWENGA*
President Donald Trump of the United States has been in office only a few days and thus far he has not disappointed in what many expect of his presidency; total unpredictability and winging of heavy presidential decisions such that the outcome is as wacky and head-scratching as any can be.
Not wanting to have any part of it, Sally Yates, Acting Attorney General and a holdover from the Obama administration, refused to defend President Trump’s controversial order banning entry or reentry of travelers from a number of predominantly Muslim countries.
Trump promptly sacked her and hired a new acting AG who promptly pledged his allegiance to Trump and promised to enforce and defend whatever Trump feels like inflicting on the United States and the rest of the world for that matter.
Which raises the question; do we fault someone like this new acting AG for essentially becoming Trump’s poodle to do the president’s bidding whatever that is, principles notwithstanding and the Constitution be damned or do we not, excusing him or her for, after all, it’s a job that draws a good salary and prestige anyone would want to have, their principles and beliefs notwithstanding.
The latter is plausible but it cannot be the case one can shamelessly defend the indefensible, especially when that which they defend is clearly proscribed under the Constitution and other international laws, norms and practices.
Yet, that’s what this new US AG must do until he’s replaced with his more permanent replacement who awaits confirmation and one who by his prior statements and actions, will be thrilled to defend his master and the new administration’s policies in courts which, going by what’s happened thus far, that’s all he will be doing and nothing else, given the lawsuits already filed to challenge Trump’s actions and the endless ones to follow.
There’s a parallel between this development involving the two acting AGs in the United States and what has happened in our own Ambassador Amina Mohamed.
There’s no question the one and only binding force that brought now President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto together back in 2012, was their facing ICC charges and, more specifically, their mutual interest in being elected so they can use the state machinery to altogether avoid their trials or otherwise to simply thwart the ICC Prosecutors as they successfully did.
It was with that in mind that Uhuru appointed Amina Mohamed, an accomplished lawyer and diplomat even by then.
Up until the ICC cases were dismissed against Uhuru and less so Ruto’s case, Amina spent most of her waking time trying to find ways to get rid of this monkey on the duo’s backs.
Indeed, one can say this was Ambassador Amina’s sole task but, to be fair, one can say she did manage to squeeze in a few other tasks here and there until these cases were dismissed but even in these other work, at the core was a common purpose of getting rid of the cases.
When that task was accomplished, President Uhuru saw it fit to put forth Amina’s name for consideration as AU Chairperson.
For strictly utilitarian reasons, this was a good move but one which begs the philosophical question was Amina’s work for the benefit of the country such that she deserved being rewarded by African leaders as AU’s next Chairperson or for the benefit of two individuals who found themselves hauled before the ICC to answer some very serious charges?
Quite surprisingly, African leaders concluded it was the latter and therefore refused to give the plum job she sought and now Jubilee has tasted the second loss except this time the loss is sustained as it will be come August on account of the power of un-interfered with and unrigged vote.
On the other hand, if, like Yates, Amina had refused to work to dismiss the ICC cases on principle that it was contrary to her role as AG, Uhuru, like Trump, would have fired her promptly but, like Yates, she would be well regarded in history for having stood for the right thing when it came to remaining obedient to the calling of our Constitution.
*The Star .Samuel Omwenga is a legal expert and political commentator in the United States