I have no words, President Uhuru Kenyatta says

 President Uhuru Kenyatta is congratulated by Lands Cabinet Sectetary Hon. Charity Ngilu after ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda dropped charges against him. PHOTO: STANDARD

Kenya: “I have no words,” this was President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reaction when he heard the sweet news that International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had dropped criminal charges against him.

The good news was relayed to him by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed who interrupted a meeting the president was chairing at State House to share the news.

A visibly excited President was lost for words upon receiving the news.

For some minutes, the high profile guests including Cabinet Secretaries and businesspeople attending the Kenya Private Sector Alliance Third Presidential Round Table derailed from their key agenda as they congratulated the  president. All the while, President Kenyatta remained speechless as Amina gave more details of the news.

“It is our hope and prayer that the two other Kenyan cases at the ICC will also be dropped in due course,” the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary said as the meeting was called to order again. The president later issued a statement to share his joy and express solidarity with his Deputy William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang whose trials were in progress as news of withdrawal of charges against the president came through.

“My brother and deputy, Hon William Ruto, as well as Mr Joshua Sang continue to face their accusers at the ICC with a clear conscience. With me, they have been steadfast in declaring their innocence. I am confident that they will be vindicated in due course. I stand with them, and will support them and pray with them until that time,” the president said. He went to assure Ruto that he was an indispensable part of the Jubilee government.

However, he roundly criticised the court for sustaining “an obviously deficient case for so long, (which) demonstrates beyond doubt the intensity of pressure exerted by improper interests to pollute and undermine the philosophy of international justice.”

He added, “I am also deeply relieved by this decision, which is overdue by six years.”The termination of the case offered relief to the President is grappling serious security challenges, headlined by terrorism, which has in the past two weeks only claimed 64 lives that forced him to dismiss Interior Security Cabinet secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.

“There is no justice when human rights clubs and an international tribunal conspire to betray victims of human rights abuses and persecute the innocent. The tragedy of this travesty is beyond words,” the president said in a thinly veiled swipe at civil society and human rights groups that had opposed presidential candidacy in 2013 citing the criminal charges against him.

He went, “This is an incomparable tragedy. Just as the ICC failed me, it has also failed the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. They were killed, maimed, displaced, dispossessed and utterly traumatised. I have been victimised, libelled and senselessly profiled by the same defective process.”

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has congragulated Kenyatta following withdrawal of crimes against humanity charges against him by the International Criminal Court.

In a statement to The Standard newsroom, the former premier expressed hope that the new developments on the case would now give the president a chance to focus his energies on serving the nation.

“On my own behalf and on behalf of my family, I wish to congratulate the President on this personal triumph that is also of great significance to our country. It is my hope that with this burden taken away, my brother, President Uhuru Kenyatta will now focus all his energies and attention on serving the people of Kenya to the best of his ability. I wish him well in this noble task.”

The ICC Chief Prosecutor also came under some scathing attack from the victims’ lawyer in the Kenya case Fagal Gaynor, who in a statement equally expressed frustration at the prosecution’s failure to piece together foolproof evidence.