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Uhuru, Ruto fury over Raila talk

By | Updated Mon, March 12th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

By KEVIN TUNOI

Relations between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and G7 Alliance leaders Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr William Ruto may not have been good at all but they most certainly just got worse.

Having come together to stop a Raila presidency and bound by a conviction that the PM relishes in their travails over the International Criminal Court trials, Odinga’s Saturday’s statement that their crimes are worse than murder and they should be committed to jail, just rubbed salt into a festering wound opened up by the contentious dossier already disowned by the British Government last week.

The statement tabled in Parliament cast Raila as the man UK should back, President Kibaki as a possible target of ICC indictment upon retirement next year, and purported Ruto and Uhuru would be slapped with The Hague’s arrest warrants to frustrate their bids for State House.

Bishop Thomas Kakala prays for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North legislator William Ruto during a prayer meeting at Malindi Stadium, February 2012. PM Odinga has claimed the duo are inciting the public against International Criminal Court. [PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD]

Now Uhuru and Ruto are back on Raila’s tracks, buoyed by fury over his statements. Signs Raila may not be happy with the turn of events was discernible from his declining to comment on the remarks by Ruto and Uhuru on Sunday, as well the wait-and-see attitude adopted by some of his most outspoken defenders in Orange Democratic Movement.

But one thing is certain, the statement coming just hours after both G7 leaders lost their bid to appeal against being committed to full trial at The Hague, surely hardened positions between the two political blocs — something that predictably, would last till election date and transition into Kenya’s fourth Presidency next year.

Big plot

A dejected Uhuru asked Raila to stop making remarks that could allegedly polarise the country and pointed out the fact Kenya was transiting through a sensitive period. "It is very unfortunate for him to make such remarks during this sensitive time in the country. He must not be allowed to polarise our country in this manner. It is such reckless remarks that led to the 2007 crisis," said Uhuru in a statement circulated by his Director of Communication Mr Munyori Buku.

Uhuru, however, appeared not done with Raila as he promised to issue a "comprehensive statement" soon.

Ruto who is also the Eldoret MP claimed Raila’s statement confirms his alleged role in a scheme against Uhuru and himself with regard to the ICC case.

Ruto told Raila not to bother with Kenyans praying for them because they have not asked him to join the prayer sessions.

The Eldoret North MP claimed that, on the contrary, it was Raila who ought to be behind bars since he was the principal beneficiary of the 2007-2008 post-elections violence. "He is in the position of Prime Minister not because of votes by Kenyans but because of the violence that rocked the country after the disputed elections," said Ruto.

Both were reacting to a statement that was circulated to newsrooms on Saturday by the Raila Odinga Secretariat over allegations that the British Government wants Uhuru and Ruto jailed before June.

The statement signed by Raila Odinga Secretariat, and not Raila himself, on March 10, 2012, said crimes against humanity were worse than murder yet the Kenyan suspects remained free, traversing the country holding prayer meetings.

It continued: "While Kenyans suspected of the lesser crime of murder conduct their prayers only behind the forbidden walls of Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, often for years before their cases are heard."

On Sunday Ruto said Kenyans could now see that it was "beyond reasonable doubt" that the PM had been scheming for their detention despite previous denials.

GRAND SCHEME

He accused him of hatching the scheme to prosecute then unfairly using political reasons on the account of post-election violence. "There has been a consistent pattern, first there was the ODM letter to the United Nations that we should be arrested, tried and hanged at The Hague and this confirms that he is part of a scheme that we should be prosecuted," he claimed.

The United Republican Party (URP) leader said there was consistency and it is now obvious and beyond any reasonable doubt that the "author, architect and mastermind of this grand scheme against Uhuru and myself" is Raila.

"Now that he believes we are criminals and should be hanged, then what about himself, a principal beneficiary of what happened? He should have been there (jail) before pointing fingers," said Ruto.

The MP also asked why Raila had not resigned from his position as Prime Minister because Kenyans shed blood during the post-election violence.

"We have not asked Raila to participate in the prayers at any one time, if he does not believe in prayers then he can keep his beliefs to himself," said Ruto.

MPs allied to Ruto claimed the ICC cases were politically instigated. "The so-called developed countries can influence the proceedings at the ICC because they have their hidden agenda in countries of interest," claimed Cherang’any MP Joshua Kuttuny.

He added that some politicians in the country were being used or are colluding with other governments to further their own political interests.

Former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara also expressed shock at Raila.

"As one of the principals in the coalition government, he should not be shouting: ‘jail them!’ because it does not promote national healing at all," said Magara.

Magara, who is a G7 founder member, said it was unfortunate that Raila was allegedly making himself "judge, jury and executioner".

THE CONSPIRACY

Keiyo North MP Lucas Chepkittony said the international community should be seen to be impartial and cautioned that foreign states have the capacity to influence ICC operations.

He added that there was likelihood some if the foreign states could have interfered with IC case against Kenyan suspects. "I do not think that the cases met the threshold for the confirmation of charges to full trial since they could have been handled locally," argued the Keiyo North MP.

Naivasha MP John Mututho claimed there was a conspiracy by some foreign governments to bring down Uhuru and Ruto.

Addressing the press after meeting with conservationists at a hotel in Kapsabet Mututho revealed MPs have vowed to oppose interference from any foreign government in the forthcoming general election.

"What has happened now exposes the tactics used by colonialists to bring down powerful individuals in a community like it happened to Dedan Kimathi and Koitalel Samoei," said Mututho.

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