News / Africa

Ruling on 'Kenyan 6' May Affect Upcoming Elections

Kenya's Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (L), Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (C) and suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto (R) attend a prayer meeting at the Uhuru Park grounds in the capital Nairobi, April 11, 2011.
Kenya's Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (L), Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (C) and suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto (R) attend a prayer meeting at the Uhuru Park grounds in the capital Nairobi, April 11, 2011.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court is expected to rule next week on whether the cases of six suspects accused of masterminding Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence will proceed to trial.  The charges will have far-reaching impact on the country’s upcoming elections.

Two of the six suspects, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Ruling and former agriculture minister William Ruto, have announced they will run for president in Kenya’s upcoming elections, the exact date of which is still unknown.

Kenyatta, who is also minister of finance, and Ruto are charged with being criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators for crimes against humanity.  In Kenyatta’s case, the crimes against humanity are murder, forcible transfer, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts; for Ruto, murder, forcible transfer of population, and persecution.

They and the other four suspects will know their fate January 23, when the ICC hearing begins.

Law Society of Kenya Chairman Kenneth Akide says Kenyan law allows Kenyatta and Ruto to compete in the elections, saying the two are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  But, he says, the traumatic events following the last elections and subsequent suffering are still fresh in many peoples’ minds.

"You can imagine a candidate with such a baggage trying to run [for] office," he said.  "Even without an ICC conviction, even as we wait for the ICC to conduct a trial, they face really a very, very uphill task in convincing voters.  If you are running for president, and you are also having to spend time to travel to The Hague to present your defense, and all this is being reported and being reported very closely, that really presents a very, very difficult time.”

He says he thinks most voters will assume that there may be something to the charges, and that the public will presume guilt until innocence is proven if the ICC takes the cases to trial.

But Victor Rateng, project manager for public opinion surveys at the polling firm Ipsos-Synovate, disagrees.  He says in a July 2011 poll, only 56 percent of Kenyans surveyed supported the ICC process.

Rateng says that support was especially low in Central Province, Kenyatta's home territory, and the Rift Valley, Ruto’s home constituency.

Rateng says he thinks if the ICC does not take the cases to trial, Kenyatta and Ruto can use that to boost their popularity and credibility in their campaigns.

But if the trials proceed, he says all is not lost.  He notes how Kenyatta and Ruto told their supporters that the ICC had been “politicized” and manipulated.

"That was one of the key things that they used to campaign against their political rivals and saying, yes, there is collusion between our rivals and the ICC to have us prosecuted so that they can have the presidency in 2012," he said.

National Council of Non-Governmental Organizations Chairman George Wainaina says he thinks the average villager in Central Kenya and the Rift Valley feels that their candidate has been victimized by their rivals through the ICC process, and that the candidates stood up for their ethnic groups during the violence.

"To them, they will probably support the people in ICC rather than vote for somebody else," hesaid. "Look at the person in the village who is told, 'the Kikuyus took your land,' who is told, 'the Kalenjins were killing your people.'"

Wainaina says he thinks the ICC charges and possible trials are a deterrent to anyone who wants to repeat what happened in the last elections.

Kenya erupted in ethnic violence following the bitterly-disputed 2007 presidential poll.  More than 300,000 people were displaced in the violence, and some 1,300 others killed.

With the help of mediator and former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, presidential rivals Mwai Kibaki and Ralia Odinga forged a power-sharing government that has held together despite recurring tensions.  Odinga, who is now prime minister, has declared that he will run for president in the upcoming elections.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid