Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara has cast doubt on the possibility of two International Criminal Court accused to contest the Kenyan presidency.
Mr Imanyara said Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto fall short of the demands of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.
Although he noted there was no legal bar that would prevent them from pursuing and assuming public office, he said the Constitution was broader on the credentials that a leader must possess.
“Public officers must demonstrate respect for the people of Kenya, bring honour to the nation and dignity to the office and promote public confidence in the integrity of the office," said quoting a section of Chapter Six Friday when he presided over the launch of a book 'Prosecuting Justice for Victims of Post-Election Violence: Why The Hague Option' at the Stanley Hotel, Nairobi.
Mr Imanyara alluded to the crimes that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are charged with at the ICC when he said “that include murders and rapes against Kenyans were not in tandem with inspiring confidence in the public office or did they bring honour to the public office".
“You need not to be facing a criminal offence to be barred from leadership. The demands of the Constitution and the value of Chapter Six specifically goes further and broader than that,” Mr Imanyara said.
"But the final court of justice is the people of Kenya."
The book has been written by the International Centre for Policy and Conflict and advocates holding perpetrators of human rights violations accountable.
“I fully dispute arguments that insist that political leaders should strive only to have skewed truth about the post-election violence and justice. This amounts to political amnesty,” Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina.
“It is a grave mistake for the human rights movement to allow itself to be painted into a corner of silence,” he said.
But in a rejoinder, Mr Kenyatta dismissed Mr Imanyara's contention saying he will be on the ballot.
"The presidency will be given by Kenyans and shortcuts won't wash. Kenyans voted for the new Constitution so that the dictates of the law reign supreme, not the whims of the so-called reformists," said Mr Kenyatta's spokesman Munyori Buku.
"Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto will be on the ballot because nothing prevents them from not being there.
"If mere allegations were all that mattered to bar leaders from public service, then Kenya would become a jungle," he said.
On Wednesday, Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa said that the ICC had "spoken" on the matter and the two were free to run.
But the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) strongly opposed his view saying: "The ICC did not and does not have the mandate to pronounce on the question whether or not the two suspects can run for public office."
LSK chairman Eric Mutua added said: “It is only Kenyans themselves either as individuals or institutions who can decide on the question whether or not in view of the charges (international crimes) facing the two suspects at The Hague, they may run for public office."
Mr Wamalwa had said the matter was "purely a judicial process and should not be politicised".
Court has spoken
He termed the ruling of the ICC as “effectively removing the issue of ICC from the election table”.
“The ICC, in its wisdom, has found that the requests by some of the suspects to be allowed time to engage in the General Election; in the healing and reconciliation process of the country, was reasonable, and they have allowed them to do that.
"As to whether or not they shall be elected President, that’s up to Kenyans to decide,” said Mr Wamalwa.
"The court has spoken…they are free to contest the elections and thereafter proceed with the cases."
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are facing charges of crimes against humanity committed during the 2007/08 post-election violence that left 1,133 people dead and 650,000 others uprooted from their homes.
The two politicians are due to stand trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) together with co-accused former head of the public service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
On Monday, the court announced that the trial in the case against Mr Ruto and Mr Sang will start on April 10, 2013.
The case against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura will start on April 11.
This will be a month after the next General Election set for March 4, 2013.