NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – Members of Parliament allied to Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto have taken issue with a statement by the UK Foreign Minister William Hague suggesting that Kenya’s international standing and reputation would be soiled if Kenyans decided to elect individuals indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Speaking at Wilson Airport on their way to a prayer meeting in Coast Province, the leaders termed Hague’s statement ‘as out of order, highly inappropriate and imperialistic.’
Led by Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, the legislators alleged that the charges at The Hague were being used by foreign nations to place themselves strategically in relation to Kenya.
“The British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s statement is patronizing, imperialistic and a blatant disregard of the basic tenets of the rule of law in Kenya. Mr Hague’s calculated remarks did not come as a surprise,” he said.
“The statement and demeanour now confirm our long held suspicion that the charges against the four Kenyans at the ICC are being used for strategic interests,” he stated.
Mwakwere stressed that friendly nations should not meddle in the internal affairs of other countries.
“Friendly nations not only respect their counterparts but will steer clear of statements that will plant seeds of discord within a country or between and among nations,” he said.
“Mr Hague’s statements was in manifest disregard of court orders that bars public discussion of the matter and it is calculated to influence the court’s decision to which he is obviously directing his remarks,” he stated.
He urged Kenyans to remain calm and vigilant against foreign impositions.
“In the fullness of time, the truth will reign. In the meantime, let us as patriots of this country respect the rule of law and continue with the huge task of building our nation,” he pointed out.
“All of us here present and our colleagues who are not here do promise to all Kenyans that we shall jealously guard the sovereign power of the people as dictated by our supreme law,” he emphasised.
Following the statement, the leaders were joined by Kenyatta and Ruto as they travelled to Coast Province.
International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber II judges have confirmed charges of crimes against humanity against Kenyatta and Ruto and committed them to trial over the 2008 post-election violence.
The two have since appealed against the ruling.
Hague was addressing a press briefing on Friday regarding his Horn of Africa tour when he was asked if the presidential ambitions of some of the four ICC suspects went against efforts to end impunity in the country.
In response, he stated that he did not want to be dragged into details of the Kenyan politics but added that Kenya should be concerned about its international reputation.
The Constitutional Court had also issued an order barring public discussion on the eligibility of Kenyatta and Ruto to run in the next presidential elections until a case before it is heard and determined.
Justice Isaac Lenaola issued the orders in response to a petition by three voters and two civil societies seeking to block Kenyatta and Ruto from vying for the Presidency in the next elections.
The petition is scheduled for hearing on February 17.
Hague’s response is at odds with the stance of the Kenyan government where Attorney General Githu Muigai, acting on instructions from President Kibaki, has formed a legal panel that is to among other things advise the government on the jurisdiction of ICC over the Kenyan cases, as well as question the admissibility of the cases at the Hague court.