News / Africa

Election of ICC Suspects Could Harm Kenya Financially, Politically

The National Alliance Party presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta right, and his running mate William Ruto, talk during a rally at Uhuru Park, in Nairobi, January 12, 2013.
The National Alliance Party presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta right, and his running mate William Ruto, talk during a rally at Uhuru Park, in Nairobi, January 12, 2013.
Gabe Joselow
The potential election of two candidates charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court could have far-reaching political and financial consequences for Kenya.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, parliament member William Ruto, are both charged with crimes committed during inter-tribal fighting which erupted following the last disputed election in 2007.

They face charges of crimes against humanity, as indirect perpetrators of murder, rape and other acts of violence.

Controversial campaign

The two candidates enjoy popular support in their base in central Kenya, but the charges have raised important questions about whether international partners will be comfortable dealing with a president and vice president facing serious accusations.

Earlier this week, Kenyatta, who is the son of Kenya's first president, said unless he is convicted by the ICC, there is nothing to stop him from campaigning.

“What we must all accept, is that you are innocent until you are proven guilty," Kenyatta said. "And that being the case, the outcome for the court proceedings itself is what one can then use to say whether one is guilty or not, and whether a nation can deal with you or not. But right now, even with that hanging over you, you are innocent.”

International response

Kenya's allies have warned of the implications of Kenyatta and Ruto's possible election.

In a phone briefing with reporters this week, the top U.S. diplomat for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, reiterated Washington's position on the possible election of the ICC suspects, saying “choices have consequences.”

Carson, a former ambassador to Kenya, said the U.S. will not endorse any candidate in the race, and declined to comment on exactly what course of action might be taken.

“I'm not going to speculate on what our actions will be, but we are not signatories to the ICC convention, but I underscore that we recognize and respect what the ICC is trying to do,” Carson said.

The European Union also has a policy of banning all but essential contact with ICC indictees. The candidates have said they have not heard formal positions from any government saying they will be banned if elected.

Financial impact

Macharia Kihuro, a risk management practitioner based in Nairobi, says there could be economic implications to electing the two candidates.

“Actually, they are innocent until they are proven guilty. But there is something that we call perception," Kihuro says. "And perception is the stock in trade in the international market. Can we trust the people who are in leadership? And this applies across the board. If you are going to lend money to an institution, you look at the corporate governance structures. This is a fact.”

Kihuro says Kenya's economy is very reliant on foreign exchange. A withdrawal of investment, or even the possibility of sanctions, could dry up reserves of U.S. dollars, which would slow growth and drive up inflation.

Constitutional questions

The ramifications of electing the two suspects are not limited to Kenya's relationship with the international community.

It could also pose a direct challenge to the country's new constitution, according to  Edward Kisiang'ani, a professor of politics and history at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

“Article 73, which is the beginning of chapter 6 on leadership and integrity, also says that people should hold office in a manner that brings honor and dignity to the people and to that office," Kisiang'ani says. "If you have been accused of having committed crimes against humanity, that cannot bring dignity and honor to that office.”

Kenya's high court is currently considering a case which challenges Kenyatta and Ruto's eligibility to run for office based on the integrity clause. A decision is expected next week.

The ICC case against the two suspects is scheduled to resume at The Hague in April. That would coincide with the schedule for a possible run-off vote, if no one wins in the first round in March.

The ICC is considering whether to move the trial to a court in Arusha, Tanzania.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kimwana from: Nairobi
March 07, 2013 8:20 PM
It is amazing that some clowns would stand and defend suspects accused of rape, murder and arson. According to law, these suspects should never have made the ballot. We are a country of laws and not a banana republic, or are we? Does anyone remember the horrendous images on our TV screens of people dying, women burning in a church and then pretending these things never happened? May the guilty party rot in jail

by: james from: nairobi
February 12, 2013 12:52 AM
it is now evident that the forces of influence are changing dramatically from the time when Europe and the U.S were the supreme beings. its unfortunate that Britain has not accepted to deal with the history of torture and human rights abuse during the colonisation of Kenya.
this makes the case put by Britain weaker in the fact that they needed to accept and aplogise. For the U.S its also coming in as favouring a side that seems not so inclined to the support of the Asian Economies whose population is half of the world and an increasing economic base giving a ready market for the emerging econmies.

All is not lost on the fact that the ICC did not fully include the cause of the post election crisis but rather only dealing with the consequences. If the cause is not tackled, it means the problem still persists whether kenya faces sactions or repercusions from electing the ICC indictees

by: mukenya from: naironi
February 11, 2013 5:05 PM
This icc case is a scheme by the west and Us to have a hard on who becomes president in kenya using Kenya Human Rights Commission. It is public knowledge that the Waki commission relied on evidence by this commission under the then chair Hassan Omar. This guy fabricated the evidence. He is now a key Man in Cord coalition. Foreign nations should leave kenyans to make their decisions without interfering. Watch this space as the two 'suspects' are taking over the government. The more icc is used to dissuade kenyans the more they become popular.

by: Grace from: Pietermaritzburg
February 11, 2013 1:40 AM
“I'm not going to speculate on what our actions will be, but we are not signatories to the ICC convention, ........,” .....Then Mr. Carson, for heavens sake please stay calm and let Kenyans decide. Leave this space for those who are signatories to ICC convention and the AU to deal with any eventuality. Isn't this equal to arm twisting and aren't we a sovereign state? We are in the 21st Century.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs