By Felix Olick
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has cautioned that electing people facing charges at the International Criminal Court will have implications on Kenya’s foreign relations.
Annan, who mediated the peace deal that ended the bloody post-election violence in 2008, said there are implications if Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta or Eldoret North MP William Ruto becomes president.
“Everyone needs to ponder. Particularly when we are dealing with leadership of a country and leadership that involves other countries outside Africa,” noted Annan.
The former UN boss emphasised that respect for the rule of law is paramount, arguing that the cases at the ICC are against individuals and not any tribe or group.
“These cases are against individuals and not against any tribe or group. Justice must be done and Kenya is obliged to assist the court in accordance with the Rome Statute,” he maintained.
However, former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa declined to comment on Uhuru and Ruto’s candidature, insisting a case is currently before the High Court to determine their suitability to run for the top job. Annan emphasised that national unity, stability and cohesion in Kenya can only be safeguarded by a credible and democratic election. Speaking to the Press on Thursday in Nairobi, the leaders expressed concern they had not met President Kibaki since arriving on Tuesday.
However, Anan remained optimistic they could meet Kibaki in the course of the day. Annan was scheduled to leave the country last night while Mkapa was to leave in the afternoon.
They expressed concern over militia groups being created ahead of polls and termed the trend worrying.
They said the recent wave of violence in Northern Kenya, Tana River Delta and Coast region is cause for concern.