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Anxiety and prayer as Kenyans await ICC ruling

Sunday January 22 2012

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

It was a day of prayer on Sunday for some of the six Kenyans who will on Monday learn whether they will be committed to stand trial for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

And leaders across the country called for calm ahead of the ICC ruling as Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti said adequate security measures had been put in place. (READ: Kenya pledges adequate security after ICC ruling)

Anxiously awaiting the decision of the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, suspended Cabinet minister Henry Kosgey, Postmaster-General Hussein Ali, public service head Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

The verdict will be made public at 1.30pm East African Time. (READ: How ICC will change the future of Kenyan politics)

Eldoret North MP William Ruto during the church service at St Patrick's Catholic Church in Burnt Forest on January 22, 2012. Photo/JARED NYATAYA

Eldoret North MP William Ruto during the church service at St Patrick's Catholic Church in Burnt Forest on January 22, 2012. Photo/JARED NYATAYA

In Eldoret, Mr Ruto said the much-awaited ruling would be a defining moment, but one that should not be used to threaten peace and stability.

“We made a commitment that nobody will ever take arms against another Kenyan and it is this promise that will be demonstrated whatever the outcome of the ICC ruling will be,” he said.

Mr Ruto was speaking at a thanksgiving service at St Patrick’s Catholic Church at Burnt Forest in Uasin Gishu County.

Burnt Forest bore the brunt of the 2007/2008 post-election violence in which more than 1,000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were run out of their homes.

The United Republican Party (URP) founder said his quest for the presidency was still on course. (READ: Uhuru and Ruto: ICC ruling will not stop us)

Mr Ruto was accompanied by assistant minister and Marakwet East MP Linah Kilimo, Keiyo South MP Jonathan Kiptanui, Mosop MP David Koech and Eldoret East MP Peris Simam. Mr Ruto was later scheduled to address youth at the Eldoret Town Hall.

Speaking in Nyamira on Sunday, Mr Kenyatta urged Kenyans to remain calm even if the cases are confirmed.

The Deputy Prime Minister was attending a homecoming party for re-elected Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati.

Hata kama tunangoja hii mambo ya kesho, nataka Wakenya wajue kwamba yatapita na tutaendelea (Even if we are waiting for the outcome of these things tomorrow (Monday), I want Kenyans to know that it will come and pass and we will continue)”.

Mr Kenyatta asked Kenyans to maintain peace. “Kenyans should reject leaders who are out to divide them along tribal lines,” he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta greets members of the public on January 22, 2012 at Nyaikuro Secondary School in Kisii County.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta greets members of the public on January 22, 2012 at Nyaikuro Secondary School in Kisii County. Photo/LAWRENCE MAINGI/DPMPS

His call was echoed by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Cabinet ministers Sam Ongeri and Naomi Shaban, and MPs Robert Monda, Wilfred Ombui, Lewis Nguyai, Ferdinand Waititu, John Mututho, Johnstone Muthama, Mithika Linturi, Maina Kamau and Jamleck Kamau.

“We will sit together and wait for the ICC decision. As a country, we should learn to find solutions to our problems without involving the international community,” Mr Kalonzo said.

In Gatundu South, Mr Kenyatta’s constituents were anxious, but hopeful that their MP would be cleared by the ICC judges.

At the St Gabriel Catholic Church in Mutomo in the constituency, Parish priest Father Francis Ndugo celebrated mass attended by about 200 faithful, most of them Mr Kenyatta’s neighbours.

At the AIC Milimani Church in Nairobi, Mr Sang said he believes Monday is the day that will see him shed the “Ocampo Six” tag.

Speaking after attending a Sunday service, Mr Sang said he believes he will be vindicated. “Tomorrow (Monday) will be my day and at a time like this, I will be a free man,” he said minutes after 1pm on Sunday.

Nonetheless, he recognised that the decision of the court could swing either way. The radio presenter called on Kenyans to remain calm when the ruling is made. He attended the service in the company of his wife, Truphena, and three children.

Contacted by the Nation over the weekend, Mr Kosgey said that he was not scared, but eagerly awaiting the ruling.

Mr Kosgey urged communities living in Rift Valley to maintain peace. The decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber judges will be made public at 1.30pm East African Time after first being communicated to the six suspects.

Unlike the confirmation of charges hearings and the initial appearance, none of the parties will be present in the courtroom during this public session by the judges.

There are three possible scenarios in the cases against the Ocampo Six. The Chamber may confirm the charges, totally or partially, against all or some of the suspects, if convinced that there are “substantial grounds” to believe that a suspect has committed a crime.

The pre-trial chamber may also decline to confirm any of the charges. In this scenario, it remains open to the prosecutor to request for the confirmation of the charges at a later date by presenting more evidence.

The Chamber may also ask the prosecutor to provide more evidence, conduct further investigation or to amend the charges if the evidence appears to establish a different crime.

Reported by Oliver Musembi, Mazera Ndurya, Tom Matoke, Lilian Onyango and Henry Nyarora