Mixed reactions over DP William Ruto’s ICC protest rally

NAIROBI: Sharp differences have emerged over Sunday's prayer-cum-protest rally during which Jubilee politicians vowed to press for the termination of the case against Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

While a section of United Republican Party (URP) MPs insisted they would continue piling pressure on the Government to support the DP and his co-accused, Joshua arap Sang, critics have claimed that it is a way of distracting Kenyans from the real issues before the international court.

Lawyer for post-election violence victims Wilfred Nderitu told The Standard that the prayer rallies only served to divert attention from the legal process.

"I do not expect that the ICC will bow to any kind of pressure, and it may be meaningful if everyone concerned goes through the established legal channels. Such activities only serve to distract people from the process of establishing the truth on the post-election violence," said Mr Nderitu.

The Sunday rally was held against the backdrop of pressure by Ruto's allies on the Government to do more to help the DP overcome his ICC woes.

Just before the prayers, several URP MPs had accused the Government of turning a blind eye to the DP's woes, drawing quick denials from their TNA counterparts, who subsequently joined them for the function in Kuresoi.

Among the options on the table is Kenya's withdrawal from the Rome statute, which established the international court.

The DP's supporters are also pushing the Government to embark on shuttle diplomacy, akin to what prevailed before the collapse of the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Boniface Otsyula (Bumula), who is the architect of a Bill to amend the International Crimes Act, revealed his proposed law had already been approved by Speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi.

Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East), another ICC critic, insisted that the DP's wing of the coalition was determined that the case against their man must end, and that the promises made at the prayer rally should be fulfilled.

And Wainaina Ndun'gu from the International Centre for Policy and Conflict agreed with the lawyer for PEV victims that the protest rally could attract the wrath of the ICC.

Two Jubilee legislators from Mt Kenya region have now asked the Government and the State Law Office to fast-track the exit of Kenya from the ICC.

Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando and his Kirinyaga Central counterpart Gachoki Gitari told the two institutions to move with speed and the pull the country from the Rome statute.

The two said the ICC court had failed to gather evidence against Ruto and had turned to political witch-hunting by trying to use recanted testimony against the DP.

"We are asking President Uhuru Kenyatta and the State Law Office under Githu Muigai to fast-track a resolution endorsed by Parliament and Senate to exit from the ICC," Kabando said.

Speaking at Gospel Outreach church in Mukurwe-ini, the two legislators said Parliament represents the voice of the people and their wishes should be respected.

Gachoki said Kenyans had indicated their willingness to pull out of the ICC, adding that despite the warning that choices had consequences, Uhuru and Ruto went ahead and won the 2013 General Election.

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy has maintained a studious silence amid the unfolding ICC events.