Three voters and two civil societies have moved to court to block Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto from vying for the Presidency in the next elections.
The petitioners, in their application, reason that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were rendered ineligible for public office after International Criminal Court (ICC) pre-trial judges confirmed charges against them on Monday.
They cite Article 6 of the Constitution on leadership and integrity that they say prevents the two from running for a public office.
The Kenya Youth Parliament and the Kenya Youth League, alongside Patrick Njuguna, Augustino Netto and Charles Omanga, claim that the confirmed charges against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto are serious offences under the Kenyan and International laws.
“We are seeking a declaration that the candidature of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto for the Presidency would be a recipe for chaos and perpetuate the culture of impunity in the country,” said their lawyer Antony Oluoch.
The petitioners are also seeking an order to permanently restrain the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from accepting the nomination of any candidate who has been committed to trial for serious criminal charges under the Kenyan and International law.
They also want a declaration that the presumption of innocence in favor of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto should not override the need to uphold the principles of the Constitution.
ICC pre-trial judges on Monday confirmed criminal charges against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto and committed them to trial over the 2008 post-election violence. The two have since indicated that they will appeal against the ruling.
The ICC judges ruled that there was sufficient evidence to commit Mr Kenyatta to trial over charges of murder, eviction of people, rape and other sexual offences, persecution, and other inhuman acts, which were committed in Nakuru and Naivasha in retaliation against the killings in Eldoret.
Mr Ruto will face trial over charges of murder, forcible deportation, torture and persecution in Turbo, Eldoret, Kapsabet and Nandi Hills towns during the post-election violence.
Also to face trial at The Hague is Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and radio journalist Joshua Sang.
The petitioners argue 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 the electoral body 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 Mr Oluoch.
Mr Oluoch added that Article 73 of the Constitution provides that authority assigned to a public officer should be exercised in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office, hence the need for a declaration on whether the two should vie for the presidency.
He submitted that any failure by the IEBC to enforce the provisions 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.
He said that the petitioners are registered voters who will be directly affected by the candidature of the two and that it will have an impact on their rights of whether to vote or not.
“The decision will also affect IDPs who are yet to be resettled and compensated and who are yet to realize justice for the losses they incurred during the post-election violence,” said Oluoch.
In light of the confirmation of charges against the two, Mr Oluoch submitted that the petitioners want an interpretation of the requirements a person who aspires to be president should possess.