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Raila protests team set up to analyse ICC ruling

Wednesday January 25 2012

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

The formation of a team to examine the verdict of the International Criminal Court has caused a fresh rift in the coalition government.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, it emerged on Wednesday, had written a protest letter to the President over the process by which the team was established. (READ: Kibaki orders Githu to set up legal team on ruling)

Lands minister James Orengo said the directive by President Kibaki to Attorney-General Githu Muigai, which resulted in the formation of a 10-member team to examine the ruling and advise the government, was improper.

“There is a letter that has been written from the Office of the Prime Minister to the Office of the President complaining about the appointments,” said Mr Orengo.

He said the decision should not have been made without the involvement of the ODM wing of the coalition and all members of the Cabinet sub-committee on the ICC. (READ: ODM legislators now want Uhuru, Muthaura sacked)

Only PNU ministers Moses Wetang’ula, George Saitoti and Prof Muigai were at the meeting on Monday that preceded the President’s directive. (READ: PNU faults ruling against Uhuru and Muthaura)

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Mr Orengo argued that Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo, Mr Odinga and ODM members of the Cabinet sub-committee — himself, Mr Amason Kingi and Mr Otieno Kajwang’— ought to have been involved.

At the same time, the Orange party wants Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura to vacate office following the confirmation of the charges they face at the Hague-based court.

The party has also asked for an urgent meeting of the Coalition Government to decide Kenya’s official response to the ruling.

“There is no way somebody can stand charged in a criminal court, whether here in Kenya or at the International Criminal Court, and continue to be in office. That would be the height of impunity, hypocrisy and double standards,” he said at a press conference in his Ardhi House office.

The Law Society of Kenya also joined calls for Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura to vacate office.

LSK chairman Ken Akide said since the two face charges of crimes that are “perhaps the most serious known to law”, their continued stay in office would not be prudent.

Former LSK chairman Gibson Kamau Kuria supported Mr Akide’s remarks. “It is obvious that their continued stay in office will greatly erode legitimacy of the government’s actions,” said Mr Kuria.

And a section of civil society activists have demanded the resignation of the AG after what they accuse him of “mis-advising the government” concerning the confirmation of charges.

The Constitution and Reform Education Consortium accused Prof Muigai of shielding the accused from respecting the law.

At the Coast, Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association chairman Mohammed Hersi said the ICC deliberations are supposed to be dealt with at Cabinet level and not at press conferences.

Reported by Bozo Jenje, Jackline Moraa, Aggrey Mutambo and John Ngirachu