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Raila's allies rubbish claims he is behind Ruto, Uhuru woes

BUSINESS
By | March 14th 2012
By | March 14th 2012
BUSINESS

By Vitalis Kimutai

Politicians allied to Prime Minister Raila Odinga and those supporting Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto clashed over cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A section of MPs from Rift Valley led by Constitutional Affairs Assistant Minister William Cheptumo and Belgut MP Charles Keter called for Railafs resignation, alleging he was a beneficiary of post-election violence.

They said the PM holds his current position courtesy of post-poll chaos.

The MPs claimed Raila was using ICC to eliminate potential competitors in forthcoming elections.

Assistant ministers Margaret Wanjiru and Alfred Khangati address a press conference at Parliament Buildings Tuesday in defence of Prime Minister Raila Odinga over allegations he is behind crimes against humanity charges facing Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto at The Hague. [PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD]

Mr Ruto and Mr Uhuru have declared that they will be running for presidency irrespective of the outcome of crimes against humanity charges facing them.

However, in defence of Raila, eight ODM MPs led by Assistant ministers Margaret Wanjiru and Dan Mwazo said the PM had nothing to do with Uhurufs and Rutofs tribulations.

"For the past four years, Kenyans have been bombarded with one excuse after another as to why ICC suspects should be let off the hook. This is unacceptable," Wanjiru said.

She said in an attempt to divert national attention from criminal charges they are facing, ICC suspects have consistently pushed the view that Raila is behind their problems.

"It is unacceptable in our society that suspects facing serious crimes against Kenyan people, together with their sycophants have misused the freedom of speech guaranteed in our Constitution for their own diabolical ends," the MPs said in a statement.

Misleading

Ruto and Uhurufs alliesf calls for the PM to resign come only a day after he issued a stinging statement accusing a section of politicians of harbouring selfish agenda that include settling scores and disenfranchising the Kenyan electorate.

Raila was challenged to quit the prime ministerfs office if he was not a beneficiary of the 2008 post-election violence. The Rift Valley MPs said: "Raila would not have become the PM had violence not rocked the country. He should make a bold decision and bolt out of government instead of misleading the country and the world by denying the obvious."

The legislators, who held a news conference at Parliament Buildings, claimed Raila was installed PM at the expense of the Kenyans who suffered brutality and deaths following the disputed polls.

The MPs included Luka Kigen (Rongai), Joshua Kutuny (Cherangani), Sammy Mwaita (Baringo Central) and Jackson Kiptanui (Keiyo South). "The next election will provide a referendum for Kenyans to choose between action-oriented leaders against those driven by vengeance and ill-will," Keter said.

The statement appeared to rebut Railafs assertion that the next General Election will be a referendum for Kenyans to choose between the rule of law and impunity. "The same people who were shouting then, eDonft be vague, let us go to The Hague,f are the ones now demonising the ICC. They are dragging the Prime Minister and other innocent parties into their self-inflicted woes," Raila said in a statement issued through his secretariat.

Legal process

The ODM MPs said President Kibaki and the PM repeatedly pushed for establishment of a local tribunal to handle the post-election violence, but their efforts were thwarted by MPs who opted for The Hague.

"The ICC proceeding is a legal process, not a political one and one that was chosen by the ones who are now fighting it," Wanjiru said.

She said chief mediator Kofi Annan and ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo repeatedly extended deadlines for Kenyans to form a local tribunal to handle the cases, but that did not materialise.

Assistant ministers Joseph Nanok, Elizabeth Ongoro, Alfred Khangati and MPs Charles Onyancha, Racheal Shebesh, Yusuf Chanzu, Fred Outa and John Mbadi attended the ODM press conference.

They said the tabling of an alleged dossier linking British government and Raila to cases before ICC was proved to be a forgery and that the MP who introduced the document in the House had degraded Parliament.

"Preliminary investigations have shown that the dossier was delivered to the media by a chief executive officer of a government parastatal. We will deal with the issue appropriately," they vowed.

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