In a statement on June 24, the communications office of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya expressed rage over an article by James Verini in the June 26 issue of The New York Times Magazine, which was featured in print with the headline ‘Trial and Error’ and published on The New York Times’s website on June 22 as ‘The Prosecutor and the President’.
But the authority media organization says it has no apology to render to the president because it got it’s facts right.
The article highlighted the failed attempt by International Criminal Court to institute legal proceedings against Kenyatta on charges related to the violence that erupted after Kenya’s 2007 presidential election.
The office of the president claimed that the author of the article did not contact Kenyatta’s office for comment. But the newspaper said this is not obtainable.
However, the media organization said, Verini tried on different occasions for about one month, seeking comment from Kenyatta’s office through official communications channels.
The author solicited for comments through phone calls, emails and text messages to Kenyatta’s chief and deputy spokesmen and two other aides.
The Newspaper wrote that
On two occasions, representatives of Kenyatta’s office briefly answered or returned phone calls and suggested the possibility of further response, and on one occasion they scheduled a meeting to discuss the article with Verini, but the meeting was canceled, and responses to emails, phone calls and text messages eventually ceased entirely.
They said the Kenyatta’s representatives knew what the article was about but they didn’t at any point talk about it.
The Magazine’s fact-checker also sent mails to Kenyatta’s chief spokesman but did not receive any response.
The statement also did not agree with what The Times Magazine wrote concerning Dennis Itumbi, the director of digital innovations and diaspora communications in Kenyatta’s office in the same article.
But the Magazine took issues with the statement, writing:
“Itumbi’s investigation by the International Criminal Court is a matter of public record. As Verini’s article notes, he was not charged.
The Times makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of what we publish. Verini’s article was based on extensive interviews with dozens of sources in Kenya, The Hague and elsewhere and thousands of pages of court records, and was reviewed by editors and fact-checkers.
While The Times conscientiously corrects any factual errors that we learn of, we have not at this point found anything to correct in this article, and we continue to believe it is both accurate and fair”
On 24 June, New York Times reported that ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, ended President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case because, by her own admission, she did not have enough proof to secure a conviction.
The paper added that the admission was late and was followed by a serious propaganda effort to prejudice, profile and libel President Kenyatta in the eyes and minds of the global public so as to rob him of his overdue vindication.
In all, the Newspaper thinks from the get-go that, the Kenyan cases were never intended for adjudication in court. Rather, they were part of some externally orchestrated sequence of illegitimate political interventions.
And on that note, they urged the court of world opinion to observe what the ICC is really about.