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Group in court over Uhuru, Ruto seat bid

Wednesday January 25 2012

By NATION CORRESPONDENT

A group of activists have moved to court seeking a declaration that statements by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret MP William Ruto that they will vie for the presidency despite the ICC ruling is a threat to the Constitution. (READ: I will lodge appeal, vows Ruto)

The Kenya Youth Parliament and the Kenya Youth League alongside civil activists Patrick Njuguna, Augustino Netto and Charles Omanga claim that the confirmed charges against Uhuru and Ruto are serious offences under Kenyan and International laws.

Through lawyer Anthony Oluoch, the lobbyists say they want a court interpretation of Article 6 of the Constitution, which talks about leadership and integrity and whether the two should be eligible to vie for leadership positions.

“We are also seeking a declaration that the candidature of Uhuru and Ruto to run for the presidency despite facing trials at the ICC would be a recipe for chaos and perpetuate the culture of impunity in the country,” said Oluoch.

Restraining order

The petitioners are seeking an order to permanently restrain the electoral commission from accepting the nomination of any candidate who has been committed to trial for serious criminal charges under Kenyan and International laws.

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The group also wants a declaration that the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in favour of Uhuru and Ruto, should not override the need to uphold the principles of the Constitution.

They argued that given the nature of the country’s leadership, it will be important that the eligibility of candidates who want to vie for various posts be determined.

According to Mr Oluoch, the implication of the charges by the ICC means that the two are committed to trial and that their eligibility to contest elective post should be determined before the elections day.

He said that IEBC should exercise its powers in accordance with the Constitution including the code of conduct as stipulated in Article 84 and 88.

“Among those issues required for the purposes of compliance with the Constitution include good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability,” said Oluoch.

He submitted that failure by the IEBC to enforce the provision on national values, rule of law, good governance and integrity by accepting the candidature of Uhuru and Ruto will be a breach of the Constitution.

They said they are registered voters who will be affected by the candidature of the two, just like IDPs.