Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Court has final say on Uhuru and Ruto, says IEBC boss

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Eldoret North MP William Ruto during a rally at Nairagie Enkare, Narok County, On November 15, 2012. Photo/CORRESPONDENT

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Eldoret North MP William Ruto during a rally at Nairagie Enkare, Narok County November 15, 2012. The electoral commission has said the two will only be allowed to contest the presidency if the court clears them November 21, 2012  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By PAMELA CHEPKEMEI pjepkemei@ke.nationmedia.com

Presidential hopefuls Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto will only be allowed to run if the High Court clears them, the electoral commission has said.

The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Isaack Hassan said Wednesday that the electoral body will make a decision on Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto once the court rules on a case questioning their integrity.

"If the court decides they are eligible, the Commission has no problem,” said Mr Isaack during an interview in the live television program dubbed Cheche, hosted by Citizen TV.

He said that the two are innocent until proven otherwise but the Commission will have to confirm that all people vying for elective posts qualify in accordance with constitutional provisions.

The case at the High Court seeks an order to restrain the IEBC from accepting the nomination of any candidate who has been committed to trial for serious criminal charges under the Kenyan and International law.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, who are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC), have said they will contest the presidency during the March 4, 2013 General Election.

Impunity

The petitioners in the case at the High Court sought an interpretation of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity claiming that the candidature of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto would be a recipe for chaos and perpetuate the culture of impunity in the country.

The case against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto is due for hearing at the High Court Friday.

Two new judges are expected to be appointed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to replace Judges Mohammed Warsame and Philomena Mwilu who have been elevated to the Court of Appeal.

The case was initially being handled by the two judges and their colleague Justice Isaac Lenaola.

The main case seeking to bar Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto has never been heard because the petitioners who initially filed it have split into two groups.

One group wants the court to determine the suitability of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to vie for presidency while two other applicants want the names of five presidential hopefuls including the Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka included.

The High Court had allowed Mr Odinga, Mr Musyoka and the Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to be included in the case but the later removed the names.

But two activists wants the hearing and determination of the petition stopped until an appeal they have filed against the striking out of the names of three is heard and determined.

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