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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid