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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid