ODM wants a say in handling ICC verdict

January 24, 2012 4:18 pm
ODM legislator Ababu Namwamba/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – A section of legislators from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) are expressing concern over way the government is handling the ICC verdict, saying it could split the country.

Led by Budalangi’ MP Ababu Namwamba, they said that an agreement signed between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga upon receipt of the Waki report detailed how to handle the people charged with the various roles in the post election violence.

The MPs who spoke at Parliament buildings now want the two principals to explain how a decision to form a team to advise the government on the options available in handling the cases was arrived at.

“Any decisions regarding how the government should proceed must be handled by the implementation sub-committee. We are therefore against the formation of other ad hoc organs to purport to deal with ICC matters,” said Namwamba.

“Let us be told why the sub-committee did not take over the matter and on which basis the team of legal experts was created,” he insisted.

Article 3 of the agreement Namwamba referred to states: “Parties to the agreement shall ensure that a person charged with a criminal offence related to the 2008 post election violence should be suspended from duty until the matter is fully adjudicated upon.”

Article 6 of the agreement which sets out its framework for implementation establishes a Cabinet sub-committee which comprises the two principals and the ministers who represented the parties during the national dialogue and reconciliation talks.

Kanduyi MP Alfred Khang’ati said that a precedent for following proper procedure had been created in dealing with the case involving Deputy Chief justice Nancy Baraza and all other cases should follow suit.

“Baraza is set to undergo the procedure to remove her from office while she is still innocent; now that we have public officers alleged to have played part in the commission of more serious crimes than hers, the application of the law must be equal,” he urged.

Namwamba called on the government to ensure that all the agreements agreed upon in the post election period are adhered to, to preserve the volatile peace being achieved warning that “we could be courting disaster.”

The displeasure came hours after the government through Attorney General Githu Muigai said that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura will not be asked to resign even after their indictment by the ICC.

On Monday, President Kibaki ordered the Attorney General to form a legal panel that will advise the government on how to respond to Monday’s ruling by the ICC confirming charges against Kenyatta , Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, and journalist Joshua Sang.

Meanwhile, more than 30 Members of Parliament, among them several Cabinet ministers, came to the defence of Kenyatta and Ruto over Monday’s ruling by the International Criminal Court, confirming charges against them for crimes against humanity.

Through a statement read by nominated MP Amina Abdallah, the group claimed that the ruling, confirming the duo’s charges, was a political scheme meant to lock them out of the country’s race for the top seat.

“It is abundantly clear to us that there is a deliberate plan to block Kenyatta and Ruto from running for the presidency. We cannot stand by and watch others take charge of the country’s affairs,” she argued.

The ICC has however maintained that its proceedings are not a political witch-hunt but a legal process meant to ensure that those most culpable for the 2007/2008 post election violence are brought to book.

In addition, the court has repeatedly stressed that it cannot dictate who Kenyans vote for or even who is cleared for the presidency.

The legislators, who included former MPs, further urged the government to ensure that all Internally Displaced Persons were resettled before April.

Abdallah added that MPs would also establish their own team to oversee the country’s bid to national healing and ensure that it was realised.

“We are calling upon the government to ensure that no single IDP remains in the camp by the end of March 2012. We will also assemble a team which will prioritise the interests of our nation and pursue peace, healing and rapid economic development,” she added.

Members of Parliament were also at the forefront in rejecting Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo’s bid to have the ICC try the suspects locally instead of the Netherlands.


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