IEBC should give direction on Uhuru and Ruto’s candidature

BY MOSES CHELANGA After the ICC confirmation verdict, there are now three common threads running across Honourables Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. First they have publicly proclaimed that they shall garner for the presidency of the Republic of Kenya, secondly they are the leading presidential candidates in KANU and URP respectively in addition to having near fanatical following from their ethnic backyard ( the house of Mumbi and Kalenjin nation, I wish I was wrong) and finally the ICC has found that there are substantial grounds to believe that they committed crimes against humanity and against the people of Kenya whom they now seek to lead as the head(s) of state, they have effectively graduated from mere suspects to accused persons.
The predominant debate of ICC is nothing but whether Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto will be in the ballot box in the coming presidential elections. CIC has taken a position but IEBC, the body that plays central role in the coming elections has maintained a deafening silence.
Opinion is diametrically divided on the eligibility of the two to vie presidency. The first school of thought which Senior Counsel Mutula Kilonzo subscribes to is that they are ineligible for failing the integrity test under Chapter 6 of the Constitution. It cannot be right to state that persons whom an international court has found that there are compellingly strong grounds to believe that they committed the most of heinous of crimes in the history of mankind are persons of integrity.
The ICC presidency shall in the due course constitute a trial chamber for the Kenyan cases. ICC trials require the presence of the accused persons. If any of the two is elected president, he shall in addition to being the head of state and government be attending trial at The Hague. This shall not only be practical impediment to efficient discharge of presidential duties but also a collective national shame.
The second school of thought believes that nothing bars the two to pursue their political rights. They rightly argue that the accused persons are presumed innocent until proved guilty and that even if convicted, they have to exhaust all avenues of appeal and review.
The above theories are held passionately by the respective proponents, they have even taken emotive and ethnic plane. It is against this backdrop that I opine that the right state organ should rise to the occasion and give a direction. IEBC is the only body mandated to register candidates for any election in Kenya; it cannot afford indifference and complacency but be proactive. IEBC should therefore in the public interest give its direction whether or not it shall accept the nomination of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto for the presidency of the Republic of Kenya if presented to it. It shall not be speculative directions since the two have public declared their candidature. The IEBC direction will put the debate to rest and give us a break.
Arguably Uhuru and Ruto cannot hold Kenya at ransom but for whatever its worth, IEBC should diffuse the overrated anxiety and give its direction, in doing so, it should exert its independence, read the letter and spirit of the Constitution and give its purport without intimidation or fear of political incorrectness. Better still, it can seek advisory opinion of the Supreme Court.
Chelanga is Advocate of High Court of Kenya and Legal Consultant

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