, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo on Monday renewed his stance that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura must now quit, following confirmation of charges for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Speaking to Capital News immediately after the ruling, Kilonzo maintained that the two must step down until they are cleared of the charges they face at the war crimes court as it constitutes a “serious conflict of interest.”
He explained that the two held critical positions in the government and there was a risk that they could undermine the court’s process.
“I am totally convinced that Chapter Six and Article 75 of the Constitution demands that someone who is accused of such offences steps aside pending determination of the case. Their stay demeans the integrity of their offices,” he argued.
ICC Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo has in the past expressed concern that top government officials were holding critical offices despite facing possible indictment by the court.
Kilonzo further maintained that Kenyatta, who is facing five counts of crimes against humanity, and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, who is facing three counts, must cede ground and forget the presidency with the ICC charges hanging over their heads.
He said that the two would not be able to serve the interests of Kenyans, who include victims of the post election violence.
“How can you become the president of the victims who are supposed to give evidence against you? The court can only confirm the charges if it has evidence and that evidence will come from the same Kenyan victims,” he said.
“So how do you become their president?” wondered the Justice Minister.
Kilonzo, who however termed the ruling as unfortunate, further revealed that he would make a second attempt for the establishment of a local tribunal to try those who were also responsible for the violence but who are not wanted by the ICC.
He added that crimes against humanity could not have been committed by four individuals only and the rest who were responsible must be held to account.
“There is no charge on earth that’s as bad as this. To be charged with a crime against humanity is the peak of crimes; all other crimes will be on judgment day, when Jesus comes back but for humanity this is the pinnacle,” he quipped.
Kilonzo’s first attempt at getting a local tribunal flopped with many Kenyans across the board stressing that they had no faith in a local process.
The Justice Minister further maintained that the atrocities committed in the wake of the 2008 chaos must be atoned, for the country to heal as it prepares for the next general elections.
He also said that there was need for the victims of the post election violence to be compensated and for the country to empower the Witness Protection Agency, in light of the confirmation of charges against the four top Kenyans.
“Again, I repeat Kenyatta must step down as Finance Minister and I would request that he hands over to someone else, who will be able to financially assist the Witness Protection Agency,” he said.
Kilonzo revealed that he had already placed a request to the Treasury to set aside Sh1.1 billion for the Witness Protection Agency for the coming financial year noting that the Sh235 million (allocated to it in the current financial year) was meagre.
He further called for sobriety among the political class arguing that they could no longer pay lip service to the country’s bid to reconcile. He added that there was also need for the establishment of a proper civic education programme that will facilitate the healing process.
“We also need to inform the citizenry of the importance of holding elections in March next year because this will give us more time to heal the nation,” he argued.
Kilonzo has in recent days found himself at logger heads with his party boss, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, over his stance calling for the resignation of Kenyatta and Muthaura.
“You have seen me being bashed and even being forced to tell off my party leader but I have no apology,” maintained Kilonzo.
Kilonzo also lauded Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey, who has been cleared of the charges, together with Major General (Rtd) Hussein Ali for exercising restraint during the ICC process.