By Heba Girgis
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
NAIROBI, Kenya—Two Kenyan presidential contenders have been indicted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly inciting violence after the election. The two candidates said that next year they would join forces and run together on the same ticket. According to their deal, the Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president after acquiring independence from Britain in 1963, will aim for the presidency, while his partner, the former cabinet minister William Ruto will run for vice president.
Thousands of people supporting the pair cheered as they unveiled their alliance at a rally in Nakuru, one of the worse hit regions by the post-election violence. Kenyatta said, “Our union is not to attack anyone, but to build Kenya, our work is to preach peace, and to make sure there is no blood spilt again.” He continued noting, “The journey to unite the country has started. We have the leadership that can bring Kenyans together…to build a country based on equality.”
However, alongside these hopes for peace, both Kenyatta and Ruto must stand trial at the International Criminal Court at the Hague for their role in orchestrating the post-election unrest that displaced more than 600,000 Kenyans.
Kenyatta alone faces five charges of crimes against humanity. These charges include murder, rape, persecution, deportation as well as other inhumane acts. Ruto also faces three charges of crimes against humanity. Both claim to be innocent of these allegations and remain free and willing to cooperate with the court.
Al Jazeera’s Reporter Mohammed Adow commented on the candidates’ political force in the country. He noted that Kenyatta comes from the larges ethnic group in the country while Ruto comes from the third most popular tribe in Kenya. He said, “So together, they actually make the winning ticket.”
Adow further commented on their situation with the International Criminal Court. “These are two men who’ve got charged of crimes against humanity hanging over their heads. Although they deny them, these are very serious charges and the International Criminal Court is trying to pin down convictions.”
The charges against these powerful political figures have shaken the country. Kenya’s political elite were once seen to be almost above the law. Now the country faces concerns and uncertainty as to any new violence that may erupt should the candidates be barred from running in the next election.
For further information, please see:
790 KGMI News – Kenyan Contenders Facing ICC Cases to Run Jointly in Vote – 2 December 2012
Al Jazeera – War Crimes Suspects Form Kenya Poll Alliance – 2 December 2012
News 24 – Kenya ICC-Indicted Leaders Do Poll Deal – 2 December 2012
Reuters – Kenyan Contenders Facing ICC Cases to Run Jointly in Vote – 2 December 2012