Some time in 2010, I wrote on this blog that I believe anyone can be president in Kenya as long as the checks and balances are working well. Under the now almost two years old Constitution, there are better checks and balances than we have had in the past. And I therefore see my dream coming true of a Kenya where it does not matter who you are as you have to fit into the system when you are president.
The country has already caught the election fever and despite the uncertainty over the election date, Kenya will have a new President in 2013. But there are two people who must drop their Presidential bid as early as today if they truly want us to trust their rhetoric that this country is bigger than any individual.
I have in various informal gatherings argued that even with the ambiguity in the law that makes it unclear if William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta can run for the Presidency with the ICC baggage on their back, their quest is a long shot. They do have the expensive option of taking flights from The Hague, assuming that their ICC trial coincide with the campaigns, and come home to seek for votes. Kenyans can even vote for them in absentia but if any of them forms the next government, this would be retrogressive to Kenya’s peace and development.
On Saturday, a lawyer friend directed me to Articles 143 and 145 of the Constitution on immunity of the President and impeachment. From the simple reading of the two Articles, it is evident that a government formed by an international crimes suspect would be handicapped as the President lacks immunity and can easily be impeached.
Article 143 (4) states; “The immunity of the President under this Article (143) shall not extend to a crime for which the President may be prosecuted under any treaty to which Kenya is party and which prohibits such immunity.”
Article 145 (1b) states; “A member of the National Assembly, supported by at least a third of all the members, may move a motion for the impeachment of the President— where there are serious reasons for believing that the President has committed a crime under national or international law.
This clearly shows that a Ruto or Uhuru Presidency would be faced with serious challenges of even taking off. This will not only threaten Kenya’s peace but is also likely to hamper the country’s development.
A President Ruto or President Uhuru would lack immunity and would be at the danger of being taken to court by any Kenyan. A President Ruto or President Uhuru would be easily be impeached by a Parliament that is not friendly or which sees the ICC case as an obstacle to the country’s social and economic well-being.
If the two gentlemen really care about the country as they have consistently said, it s my opinion that they should shelf their ambitions and “work” with the other “like-minded” leaders that they keep talking about and ensure that the country moves on even as they strive to clear their names. I believe Kenyans can always give them another chance to lead the country in future elections if they are cleared of the alleged crimes.
Meanwhile, Raila Odinga must put his house in order and ensure those working in his campaign secretariat do not issue statements such as that which was published on Sunday. Such statements not only taint him as a leader but also raise unnecessary tension in the country especially coming after the unauthenticated allegations that he is being imposed on Kenyans by Western Govenments.