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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid