WASHINGTON, Oct 10 – Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has for the first time spoken on the ongoing International Criminal Court investigations and said he is not afraid of the possible arrest warrants over the 2008 post election violence.
Speaking at the sidelines of the ongoing World Bank and IMF meeting in Washington, Mr Kenyatta said he is not personally concerned with ICC.
“Once due process has taken place, the truth will eventually come out and people will get to know what the situation was,” he told the media.
Mr Kenyatta has previously challenged a Kenya National Commission on Human rights Commission (KNCHR) report linking him to the violence.
The minister moved to the High Court seeking to have his name expunged from the Commission’s report claiming that he was not given an opportunity to defend himself. The court agreed with him but declined to remove his name arguing that his rights do not override those of the public.
He also believes that the investigations will not have any impact on the country’s economy saying there is increased confidence especially after the August 4 peaceful referendum.
A source close to Mr Kenyatta confirmed the Finance Minister’s position on the ICC. “We do not fear ICC or the possible warrants. That is and has always been our position,” the source who couldn’t be named said.
The violence left 1,133 people dead and more than 650,000 others uprooted from their homes.
At the same time Mr Kenyatta, who is leading the Kenyan delegation attending the Annual Meetings of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group said improving the social sectors of the world’s economy was the only solution to solving the global financial crisis.
The annual meetings bring together around 10,000 central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.
Commenting on the issues facing the developing countries especially in Africa, Mr Kenyatta said that they should focus more on less reliance on aid and increase investments and job creation programmes.
“This will ensure steady return to the kind of pre crisis levels of growth,” he added.
Citing the Economic Stimulus Programme, Mr Kenyatta said that although Kenya is not yet out of the woods, it is heading in the right direction. The programme focuses on health, education and creation of necessary skills the people require to increase the growth levels. The current recruitment of contract teachers is also meant not only to create employment but also allow Kenyans to have multiply effect in increase of consumption which will help in growth levels.
During the plenary session of the meetings, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn outlined four key challenges for the global economy, urging advanced countries and emerging markets to revive their cooperation to avoid competitive currency adjustments and rebalance the still-fragile world economy.
The challenges he outlined are public debt where some countries are unable to manage, a recovery of 30 million jobs lost during the crisis, downward trend of the financial sector and vanishing of the commitment to cooperation.
Strauss-Kahn said that the main goal for the medium term was to achieve a rebalancing of the global economy to iron out disruptive strains that can lead to renewed crises.
“The recovery clearly is going on but, as everybody knows, it’s still very fragile. And it’s fragile partly because it’s uneven,” Strauss-Kahn told reporters. “When you look at Asia, when you look at South America, you see very high rates of growth and obviously for these parts of the world the crisis is over,” he said.
“Just reviving growth is not enough. Growth without jobs doesn’t mean much for the man in the street,” IMF’s Strauss-Kahn added.
Strauss-Kahn also observed that Africa was also seeing a return to something like 5 percent growth. But recovery in Europe was sluggish and the outlook in the United States was uncertain. “We probably need more information on the third and fourth quarter of this year to know where it is going,” he declared. But he said a double-dip recession, forecast by some commentators, was unlikely to materialize.
The President of the World Bank group Robert Zoellick supported Strauss- Kahn by stressing that global growth has unemployment in many countries.
He commended a rebounding of the foreign direct investments and bonds in emerging markets but regretted the weak bank lending which is particularly hard on low income countries and small companies that rely on it.
Zoellick emphasized more on the need to work toward building a new, networked economy and an architecture that suits it so as to come out of crises both wiser and stronger.
“We need a more flexible and different approach to development. You are the G187. This is a potentially powerful concept. It is rich and poor. It is North, South, East and West. So we welcome this opportunity to work with you and to build a modernized multilateralism,” he concluded.
Under the broader umbrella of the formal sessions, there will be a host of meetings of different official groups, including the G-20 advanced economies and emerging markets, the Commonwealth Finance Ministers, and the G7. There are also meetings with civil society, academics, and the private sector.
The Kenyan delegation also includes Minister for roads, Franklin Bett, the Treasury PS Joseph Kinyua, Roads PS Eng. Michael Kamau, Finance Economic Secretary Dr. Geoffrey Mwau and the Finance External Relations Director, Joseph Kinyanjui among other officials.