Reports have surfaced in Kenya that the African country is engaged in quiet lobbying of other Commonwealth Member states on the continent to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo next month.
A report in the Kenyan Star newspaper quotes diplomatic sources as saying that Kenya was pushing several other African leaders to boycott the Colombo summit over the Commonwealth’s failure to take a decisive stance against the prosecution of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at the International Criminal Court.
According to the report, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia have been “roped into the plan and may miss out in the meeting.”
“Kenya is determined to force in a favorable and decisive action against the ICC trials against its president and deputy president. The Commonwealth miss would be part of this bigger agenda which the world must appreciate has been forced on Kenya by the court,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.
The Kenyan Star said that another government source had confirmed: “It is almost a foregone conclusion by now that Kenya will not show up. And with it, East Africa and other African countries. By that time, the president is supposed to be at the ICC. The deputy president will be in charge here.”
The Commonwealth meeting would also be taking place three days after the start of the Kenyan President Uhuru’s trial on November 12.
While the Sri Lankan Government will have the satisfaction of knowing the Kenyan proposed boycott has nothing to do with its own rights record as in the case of Canada, any collective boycott by African states will be seen as a colossal failure of its new foreign policy to look to Africa and Latin America for solidarity. External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has consistently hailed the decision of the Government to pursue greater ties with African nations, because the support of the developing countries towards other developing countries, or South-South cooperation was more forthcoming at a juncture when Colombo is increasingly distancing itself from the Western, pro-Human Rights lobby.