Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has criticised a human rights activist for claiming that Eldoret North MP William and him are unfit to run for the presidency.
Mr Kenyatta told United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai that the charges they are facing at the International Criminal Court are “mere allegations” and they are still innocent unless the Hague-based court declares them guilty.
“Mr Maina Kiai has gone to school enough to know the difference between fact and opinion. The fact is that nothing in the Kenyan law prevents Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto from vying for the presidency. How can it when they have committed no crime and are innocent of all the charges until the ICC proves otherwise?” Mr Kenyatta said in a statement sent by his spokesman Munyori Buku.
He added that what Mr Kiai was giving was an opinion that has “no place” in Kenyan laws.
“If everybody alleged to have committed this crime or that were treated like a criminal, Kenya would be a national jungle. Allegations are just that - allegations!” the DPM said.
On Friday during a show on NTV, Mr Kiai said that the two politicians are not qualified to contest the Kenyan presidency.
He said that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto should reconsider their ambitions for the top job in a bid “to bring honour, respect and dignity to the position of Kenya’s presidency”.
“How will the government run if the President or his deputy or both are facing trials at the ICC and whose proceedings they must attend in person?” posed the human rights activist during a live NTV talk show – The Trend – on Friday night.
Mr Kiai said Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto’s supporters have the option of supporting another presidential aspirant whose “vision and policies are similar to the duo”.
“Crimes against humanity are very serious in the world and cannot be wished away like a petty crime. And although the two are innocent until proven guilty, they must consider the fate of Kenya in the event they are elected to office,” Mr Kiai said.
There has been unending debate on whether the two should run for the presidency while they have not been cleared by ICC.
A High Court ruling on the eligibility of both Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta to contest the presidency is expected to be delivered later in the month.
Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa insists that the two should run for the presidency while the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission says that it can only bar them if they are not cleared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
The ICC accuses Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto, former head of public service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang of bearing the greatest responsibility in the 2007/08 post election violence that left 1,133 people killed and 650,000 displaced.
The four Kenyans are due to stand trial at The Hague-based court starting April 10, 2013.
In Case One, Mr Ruto and Mr Sang face crimes against humanity charges including murder, forcible transfer of population or deportation and persecution.
In Case Two, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura will seek to ward off charges of murder, rape, forcible transfer of populations or deportation, persecution.