PM under fire over ICC lobbying

January 27, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 27 – At least 18 Members of Parliament allied to Kalonzo Musyoka have hit out at Prime Minister Raila Odinga for disowning lobbying by the VP among African Union states, to back a bid by Kenya to defer case against six suspects at the ICC.

The MPs led by Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri and his Chepalungu counterpart Isaac Ruto said they fully support Mr Musyoka\’s shuttle diplomacy because it has the backing of the President.

"The VP is the principal assistant to the President of Kenya, and the President of Kenya will assign duties to his assistant without concurrence to the PM, therefore what the VP is doing is proper and in order," he said

He said the action was in conformity with Parliament\’s decision late last month that sought to pull Kenya out of the Rome Statute which establishes the ICC.

Mr Kiunjiri indicated that Parliament had changed its stand on the initial objection to the formation of the local tribunal since the ICC process had been politicised.

"We are not trying to stop the ICC process, what Parliament is attempting is to ensure that if there are any trial it will be done on our soil, only a fool does not change their mind," said the Public Works Assistant Minister.

The MPs who addressed a press conference at Parliament buildings also urged the government to pay legal fees for ODM bigwigs Henry Kosgey and William Ruto who are among six individuals named as masterminds of the post election violence.

Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet who was among the MPs drawn from PNU and ODM said the government should not only bail out Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Post Master General Mohamed Hussein Ali who served as Police Commissioner at the time of the violence.

"We also know that Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey are there because they are senior leaders of ODM. I want to call on the PM, that if he is genuine… if he is a real person, he should also come out and underwrite the legal fees for the two," he said.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and nominated MP George Nyamweya argued that under Article 50 of the new Constitution all Kenyans are guaranteed of a fair hearing and that the government is supposed to cater for their legal representation.

Mr Kioni said: "It does not matter what you think somebody did, they are entitled to legal representation under the Constitution which is paid for by the State, so we must differentiate between legality and morality. That is a legal position," he said.

Acting joint government Chief Whip Johnson Muthama said: "Government money is withdrawn through a vote, which will be brought to the House for debate and then a decision will be taken."

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