In March this year, I wrote on why I think Ruto and Uhuru should shelve their presidential bids until they get rid of their ICC baggage. Though basing my arguments on the lack of immunity and likelihood of impeachment, I still believe that the two fellows cannot be legally blocked to run in next year’s election.
It would be out of a moral duty if they are to shelf their presidential bids.
Both the Supreme Court and the High Court have been urged to determine the eligibility of the two and this may happen before or even after the election but every one of us hopes it happens as soon as possible. The fact is that the two men are popular among their supporters, who are many, and that is why talk of a joint ticket has sent many of their opponents into a frenzy.
I still believe that legally, you cannot block the two from running for the Presidency or any other office in the country. Doing so would not only infringe on their rights but also on the rights of their supporters to make a free and fair political choice. I draw my argument from Article 99 of the Constitution and especially Article 99 (3) which clearly states that one cannot be disqualified from running for office, even when they are subject to a prison term of more than 6 months, unless all avenues of appeal are exhausted.
But this will be a matter of the court to determine so I will leave it at that.
I think we are all awake to the dangers of having a government-led by Uhuru or Ruto and that is why I argue that the two can choose to drop out of the race on moral grounds. However, our fears as we have expressed them on different forums are somehow speculative even as the West continues to issue threats over the matter. Even as they shout loudest, the West in my opinion cannot afford to cut ties with Kenya and that was the reason they couldn’t allow the 2008 crisis to persist. Their interests in the region and losing grip of the country’s economy to the East cannot allow them to cut ties. The West could not be spending billions of shillings in what they call “voter education” if they lack interests in the country’s affairs.
They will threaten Kenya with sanctions etc once the election is over and either Uhuru or Ruto are at the helm but it won’t go on for long. And this possible antagonistic affair may be the only reason that the two could consider in dropping out of the race.
If the West believes in the notion that it has insisted on that the ICC process is not political and that it is not the country or communities on trial, then it should be able to respect the will of the people without intimidation and threats. If Kenyans want to elect any of the two men despite the charges they are facing, then they should be allowed to do so. It is important to respect the notion of innocent until proven guilty.
Meanwhile, I was not convinced with ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s explanations on why she was the country. She kept repeating that she was not here to collect evidence. It would be naive to believe such a statement from someone who has clearly indicated that her case is not tied up and is being frustrated by the government. Her answers and questions were more than telling that she was not only seeking evidence but was also reading the public’s thinking of her cases.
It was interesting to hear her say that the documents/information she was seeking from the Kenyan government was crucial to her cases. Also interesting was her asking Eldoret residents how many people died in the Kiambaa church inferno. One wonders what kind of investigations have been carried out by the prosecution’s office since 2010 if this information is not available to her.
Unfortunately, I do not see the government being of much help in assisting her tie up her case before April. The ICC lost the Kenyan government goodwill after the prosecution on three occasions blocked its request for information that would have helped it open charges other perpetrators.