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Annan warns over ICC suspects’ bids

Thursday October 11 2012

Annan: Fate of ICC pair lies with Kenyans
Dr Kofi Annan (right) with former President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa during a press conference in Nairobi, October 11th, 2012. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI
Dr Kofi Annan (right) with former President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa during a press conference in Nairobi, October 11th, 2012. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI
By BERNARD NAMUNANE ([email protected])

Kenya’s relations with the international community could be adversely affected if one of the two presidential aspirants with cases at The Hague wins, according to former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Mr Annan, at the same time, said he had failed to meet President Kibaki during his three-day visit to support the country’s preparations for the next General Election.

The chief mediator said the presidential bids by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto were a subject of wide-ranging discussions his team held with government officials, the donor community, the clergy and private sector players, among other groups.

“The question came up in our meetings with various groups but the issue is before the courts. However, there are implications of being in power and relations with other countries,” he said at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi.

Former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa, who accompanied Mr Annan under the aegis of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, hoped that the courts would make a decision that would contribute to peaceful elections on March 4, 2013.

“We were informed that there is a case in court, so we cannot make any statement on it. The ruling will be made and we hope it will lead to peaceful elections,” he said.

The cautionary approach by Mr Annan on the bids by Mr Kenyatta of The National Alliance and Mr Ruto of the United Republican Party comes two days after Attorney-General Githu Muigai moved to the Supreme Court seeking its opinion on whether one loses the right to vie for political office if one’s integrity is questioned.

The two, whose trial proceedings at the International Criminal Court are expected to begin in April next year, are also subject of a case filed in the High Court by eight activists challenging their suitability to run for the presidency.

The crimes against humanity charges Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto face stem from the 2008 post-election violence.

Speaking at the end of their visit, Mr Annan said they expected to meet President Kibaki when they arrived in the country on Monday night.

At first, he said they were told he had flown out to attend Uganda’s 50 years of independence.

Mr Annan said when he came back, they were expecting to meet him on Thursday but they received no word from State House at the time of the press conference — 2.30pm.

Contacted, Presidential Press Services boss Isaiah Kabira said the Head of State had a busy day chairing a Cabinet meeting that had to approve 14 Bills.