Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has held talks with coalition partner President Mwai Kibaki over what many believe to be a possible reshuffling of the Kenyan cabinet.
Returning from a two-week trip to the United States and France Tuesday night, Mr. Odinga was asked by journalists about the fate of suspended higher education minister and ICC suspect William Ruto.
Kenya's PM Raila Odinga (File)
While the premier refused to address Ruto specifically, he said that a "cabinet reshuffle" would be conducted soon. Soon after making that statement, Mr. Odinga met with President Kibaki in a closed session.
Ruto was suspended from his post in October of last year after being ordered to stand trial for charges of fraud. Ruto stood accused of receiving over $500,000 in the illegal sale of part of the protected Ngong forest to the Kenya Pipeline Corporation. President Kibaki was required by Kenyan law to suspend the politician.
The controversial Ruto, who some see as a frontrunner in Kenya’s upcoming presidential election, had the charges against him dropped on April 12, when a Kenyan magistrate ruled the evidence against him was insufficient for trial. There have since been rumors of Ruto reclaiming his post, with one Kenyan newspaper reporting he would return to work soon.
But according to the chairman of the Law Society of Kenya, Apollo Mboya, the law requires the consent of both the president and prime minister before Ruto can be reappointed.
"It is not mandatory that he has to go back because it is at the discretion of the principals. Depending on the way the politics play out, it might be another point of contention," said Mboya.
Ruto is one of six Kenyans accused by the International Criminal Court prosecutor of crimes against humanity during the country’s post-election chaos. Ruto is alleged to have helped plan and execute violence after the disputed 2007 presidential election which left over 1,300 dead and more than 300,000 displaced.
Ruto was once seen as the right-hand man of Prime Minister Odinga but public disputes between the two have since driven the Rift Valley politician into the camp of President Mwai Kibaki and fellow Hague-suspect Uhuru Kenyatta.