Thursday, November 29, 2012

Petitioners withdraw Uhuru, Ruto integrity case

Alert declaring URP/TNA deal recalled
Eldoret North MP Willaim Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta at past rally. A case challenging their eligibility to contest the presidency has been withdrawn November 29, 2012
Eldoret North MP William Ruto (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta (right) at past rally. A case challenging their eligibility to contest the presidency has been withdrawn November 29, 2012
By PAUL OGEMBA pogemba@ke.nationmedia.com

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto have been let off the integrity hook after a petition questioning their eligibility was withdrawn.

However, activists Charles Omanga and Patrick Njuguna said the two presidential aspirants should not celebrate because the move was just a tactical one to file another petition which would bring into question the integrity of all presidential aspirants.

“Justice should not be seen to be selective, we want to bring a petition questioning the integrity of all presidential candidates so that the issue of Chapter Six of the Constitution is determined once and for all,” said lawyer Ambrose Weda for the activists.

In the application to withdraw the petition, Mr Weda said the question of integrity might not be adequately addressed if only the Attorney General was left as the respondent to argue the case. Read (Voter wants aspirants’ eligibility case dropped)

He said the intention of the petitioners was to have all the presidential aspirants with questionable integrity issues to be brought on board to clear their names before facing the electorate.

Judges Isaac Lenaola, Mohammed Warsame and Philomena Mwilu allowed the application for withdrawal, ruling that they had nothing to do with the reasons advanced for the withdrawal.

The judges noted that the matter was filed almost 10 months ago and it was not for them to find what the intention was upon the finalisation of the petition.

“The petitioners have now made up their minds to withdraw the matter for tactical reasons which are in their power as the instigators of the application. However, considering the immense public interest in the matter, we allow the withdrawal with a heavy heart,” ruled the judges.

After the ruling, Mr Weda said they now had the opportunity to bring back an amended petition which had been dismissed.

Unlike previously when some petitioners disagreed with Mr Omanga and Mr Njuguna over the amended petition, all were in agreement that they should withdraw and file a fresh application.

The petition was originally filed in January by Mr Augustino Neto, currently the Ndhiwa MP, Mr Zechariah Momanyi, Mr Maurice Mwariama, Mr Abdulaziz Abubakar, Kenya Youth Parliament, the Kenya Youth League, Mr Omanga and Mr Njuguna.

They sought an interpretation of Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity, arguing that allowing the two to vie would be a recipe for chaos and would perpetuate the culture of impunity in the country.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are charged with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court following the 2008 post-election violence.

The petitioners argued that if the two were committed to trial, they would bring embarrassment to the country if elected.