If you travel a few kilometres from The Hague, you’ll find one of the Netherlands’ grandest hotels: the Kurhaus. This is where Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta spent the night. He was accompanied by dozens of MPs and The Hague Trials Kenya.
By Sophie van Leeuwen for The Hague Trials Kenya
The 19th century building on the North Sea coast fills the Dutch with pride. A portrait of the Dutch king and queen welcomes visitors at the entrance. More and more Kenyan MPs arrived yesterday afternoon, until the entrance of the glamorous hotel was blocked.
”We had to leave earlier,” said MP Maina Kamanda. ”There wasn’t enough space in the plane to carry all of us.” Around Kamanda, almost one hundred people were busy checking in their suitcases.
Once Kenyatta arrived, the atmosphere became even more hectic. The president shook hands with all his friends and colleagues, many of whom were wearing a cap just like him. Then he escaped into the elevator, off to his presidential suite.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Amina Mohamed posed before a picture of the Rolling Stones. In 1964, the British band staged a memorable concert in the superb main hall and restaurant named Kurzaal. ”I’m looking forward to a wonderful dinner”, Mohamed smiled.
“We payed for this trip ourselves”, assures Kamanda. But did the MP realize that his breakfast costs 27 euros? No problem, he said. ”We love our president and we are here to support him.” What about a trip to the Red Light District in Amsterdam? “No no,” says Kamanda in reply to a question about MPs potentially visiting the famous red light sex district in the Dutch capital. “we travelled here for serious matters,’ he stresses, “and Nairobi is much more fun than Amsterdam.”
Kenyatta is attending a session at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The president has been accused of indirect responsibility for crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, during the 2007-8 post-election violence.