NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 25 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has joined demands for the immediate resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura following their indictment by the International Criminal Court.
In a statement, LSK chairman Kenneth Akide said on Wednesday that it is “untenable” for the two to continue holding public office while facing charges before the war crimes court.
Akide said that the two public officers should follow precedent that has been set, with regard to when public officers are under investigation or are charged with criminal offences.
Akide further said that the spirit of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity also made the continued stay of the two in public office “demeaning to the integrity of those offices.”
“Kenya contemplates in its inner soul a leadership without suspicion of blemish. The Law Society of Kenya calls upon Honourable Uhuru Kenyatta and Ambassador Francis Muthaura to quit office now,” the LSK statement said.
The LSK has also expressed reservations with the position adopted by Attorney General Githu Muigai that the fate of the two be left in abeyance pending the determination of the appeals which the accused might file.
Earlier, a section of the civil society stepped up pressure on Kenyatta and Muthaura to resign following the confirmation of their cases by the ICC.
The groups under the Constitution Reform and Education Consortium (CRECO) appealed to President Mwai Kibaki to ensure that the two do not continue holding public office.
CRECO chairperson Tom Kagwe insisted that the two had the option to resign but that the president also had the prerogative of protecting the Constitution.
He said: “President Kibaki must require of them to resign; they hold public office in trust and must resign.”
National Civil Society Congress chairman Morris Odhiambo hit out at the Attorney General following the formation of the team of legal experts to advise the government on how to respond to Monday’s ruling by the ICC terming is “as design to run away from justice.”
Odhiambo said that the move which was ordered by the president was not in the interest of justice but an attempt to scuttle the cases at the ICC.
“That design will be defeated because it is not about justice… it’s a design to ensure a continuity of impunity. The AG wants to take us back to the land of impunity,” he reiterated.
Odhiambo insisted that if a local tribunal is set up it should be for the purposes of prosecuting middle and low level perpetrators after revelations by the AG that the government wants to set up a division within the High Court to deal exclusively with offences of international nature.
“The intention is to pretend that there is commitment to the local tribunal so that the cases at the ICC are referred to the tribunal; by all means let us have the local tribunal but not to try the four accused,” he said.
On Tuesday, MPs allied to the Orange Democratic Movement ODM also expressed displeasure with how the President reacted to the ruling and demanded that they should have input in handling the ICC verdict.
Led by Budalangi’ MP Ababu Namwamba, they said that an agreement signed between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga upon receipt of the Waki report detailed how to handle people charged over various roles in the post-election violence.