Kenyan leader hits ICC over post-election chaos
17 November 2015, 21:35
Eldoret - Kenyan President Uhuru
Kenyatta has accused The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) of
trying to stoke tensions in the country, saying it should keep off Kenya's
Kenyatta said the government should be given room to run its
affairs peacefully without disturbing the existing peace in the country.
Kenyatta who was the first sitting Head of State to appear
at the ICC before the charges against him were dropped late 2014 expressed
optimism that just like he overcame the ICC case, the similar case facing
Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang will soon be dropped.
"We are appealing to friendly countries to support us
in our agenda of consolidating peace and unity in Kenya," the president
In dropping the charges against Kenyatta, ICC Chief
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda noted the tribunal's difficulties in bringing to
justice the high-ranking officials it has accused of atrocities and accused the
government of harassing and intimidating potential witnesses.
Kenya, whose government unwittingly landed before the Court
by playing to the whims of interested politicians, has been mounting a
political battle against the ICC, going all the way to the UN Security Council,
later decided to try its luck before the Court.
Also read: Kenya's
focus turns to saving Ruto at the ICC
But after initially hoping to win quick fixes, a bid to
demand a deferral of the two Kenyan cases for local trials on the basis that
law reforms had been initiated later fell flat and a lobbying campaign
succeeded only continentally.
Kenyatta who was speaking in Eldoret emphasized that his
government has not lost its focus on achieving its twin objective of uniting
the country and improving the lives of Kenyans.
He said the government is committed to ensuring that the
development momentum that the country has gained is not slowed down by external
or internal disruptions.
Kenyatta was charged with orchestrating the bloodshed which
followed a disputed presidential election result in December 2007.
Ex-President Mwai Kibaki and his close rival, ex-Prime
Minister Raila Odinga, fiercely contested the 2007 presidential elections which
resulted into a two-month long post-election violence that uprooted more than
half a million people.
The violence was blamed on the fierce competition for a
share of the national wealth between the various tribal groups. Most of it had
to do with the distribution of land and access to State power.
Ruto, who was a lawmaker at the time of post election
violence that rocked the East African nation, has been attending his trial for
crimes committed during the violence.
Ruto and Kenyatta who were on opposite sides of the
political divide in 2007-2008 are accused of organizing attacks against one another's
supporters. They were elected in March 2013 on a joint ticket.
Both Ruto, Kenyatta and journalist Joshua Sang are not
subject to arrest warrants, having cooperated with the court until now, and
have pledged to continue voluntarily appearing before the ICC.