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ODM backs Raila's statement on ICC suspects

By | March 14th 2012

By Peter Orengo and Moses Njagih

ODM’s National Executive Council has supported Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s stand on ICC cases against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

"As the party leader and presidential candidate for now, whatever he says has the backing of the party. The matter at hand is of national interest so the party is in support of those sentiments regarding ICC cases," said National Organising Secretary Hassan Joho at the party headquarters.

On the contentious issue of presidential nomination method, Joho said all county chairpersons and secretary-generals have discussed the issue, but are yet to reach consensus.

"We intend to follow the constitution of the party but if there are issues that need to be ironed out we will continue meeting until everyone is satisfied," he said after a meeting with county representatives at Orange House.

The officials are planning recruitment of party members and have set a target of about 10,000 in 290 constituencies. Joho said the exercise would be held from sub-location to the county level. The county chairmen and the organising secretaries would spearhead the recruitment.

Meanwhile, a lobby group supporting the PM’s presidential bid has castigated Uhuru and Ruto for engaging in a smear campaign. The Friends of Raila 2012 lobby group accused the two ICC suspects, who are also eyeing the presidency, of using the international court’s process as a campaign tool for their respective presidential bids.

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The group said Uhuru and Ruto are using the court process to taint Raila, portraying him as the force behind their woes to win sympathy from Kenyans.

"The ICC has conformed with the rule of law and should, therefore, not be a campaign issue as the two ICC suspects have been doing," said Micah Kigen, the lobby chairman.

The forum defended Raila against recent accusations by Ruto that he was the beneficiary of post-election violence. "The real beneficiaries of post-election violence are the people who have used the ICC process to traverse Kenya to popularise themselves," they argued.

The forum wants Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere to investigate the contentious letter alleging Raila wants the two suspects to be detained to enable him win the polls.

The UK Government has already termed the document tabled in Parliament by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo as a forgery. ODM unveiled a secretariat headed by Kigen, former Kenya National Human Rights Commission commissioner Hassan Omar and activist Wafula Buke.

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