New report warns of the painful costs of a Jubilee victory
Posted Sunday, December 23 2012 at 00:30
- Group of NGOs warns there are practical challenges that will come with an Uhuru-Ruto presidency that Kenyans need to be fully aware of
Even as delegates gather in Nairobi on Sunday to endorse the Jubilee presidential candidate, a group of NGOs has compiled a report warning against the candidature of TNA leader Uhuru Kenyatta and his URP counterpart William Ruto, saying it will render the country “leaderless” if they win in the March 4 elections.
The report, “Implications of a Kenyatta/Ruto presidency for Kenya”, seen by the Sunday Nation, explores the possible consequences for Kenyans should either of the two leaders be elected as president or deputy.
It zeroes in on how the routine of the president and his deputy would affect the country if Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto’s coalition wins the presidential elections next year.
Mr Kenyatta, The National Alliance presidential hopeful, and Mr Ruto of the United Republican Party, who have come together under the Jubilee Coalition to contest the presidency, will in April next year be tried for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. They will stand trial for crimes committed during the 2007/8 post-election violence.
The two are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but their circumstances continue to dominate debate on the presidential campaign.
The overriding conclusion of the report is that Kenya could be rendered “leaderless” with an “absentee presidency” while the accused attend trials at The Hague if elected.
The report by the International Commission of Jurists (Kenya), Katiba Institute and The Kenya Human Rights Commission focuses largely on the domestic consequences of an Uhuru-Ruto victory in view of the ICC trials.
The emphasis is on the effect of the presidency on national security, the military, conduct of government business such as Cabinet meetings, appointment of constitutional office holders and the prosecution of other individuals suspected to have been involved in the violence.
The elections are set for March 4 and a runoff around April 10 if nobody wins in the first round. This is the same date that The Hague trials are set to begin.
Therein lies the challenge. The organisations caution that the country will face “difficult choices” if there is no winner in the first round and a runoff is necessary, and if the two or one of them is elected as president or deputy president in the repeat poll.
The NGOs say that the effects that a trial before the ICC would have on their presidency is a practical matter and raises questions that must be fully appreciated by the country as it goes to elections.
The report adds that even if the courts clear them to run for office, and even though they are undoubtedly popular, a presidency with either Mr Kenyatta or Mr Ruto at the helm is “likely to hobble Kenya as it would be impossible to conduct national affairs while the president is away on trial”.
One of the first hurdles, the report warns, will be that the accused may not be available to take oath because they will be required to be defending themselves in court.
“And after a highly difficult set of elections, Kenya may remain leaderless if its president has to abandon the election process midway and go to The Hague for trial.”
And more issues could crop up early on in the presidency.
“There is a danger that if elected as president, Kenyatta or Ruto will not make even the maiden address as he will already be away on trial.”
They argue that the president will remain disconnected with Parliament, resulting in a policy and leadership gap.