, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 8 – A fiery President Uhuru Kenyatta laid down the law for the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday, making it clear that under no circumstance will both he and his Deputy William Ruto be at The Hague concurrently.
He explained that while they were willing to co-operate with the ICC, they would not sacrifice their responsibility to Kenyans in order to do so.
“I speak now not as an accused person but as the President of the sovereign republic of Kenya. If you want us to continue to co-operate with the ICC process let me make it crystal clear that when Ruto is at The Hague I will be here and when I am at The Hague he will be here,” he declared.
He said the Hague-based court should not act in contravention of the Kenyan constitution and should respect the decision of Kenyans to elect both him and Ruto into the highest office in the land.
“Do not make it difficult for us to run the affairs of an independent sovereign nation called Kenya. I will take on my responsibilities and answer to the case but I will not also shirk my responsibilities that I have been given by the people of this Republic. And I say this not under the cover of darkness but in broad daylight,” he said.
Members of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) who have cast aspersions on Uhuru and Ruto’s capability to run the country while they are before the ICC did not escape the firing line either.
Kenyatta said they should not think for a moment that they can use the trials at The Hague as an avenue to take a second stab at the presidency merely four months since they were elected into office.
“There are those who dream not only when they sleep but when they speak. They think that because Ruto and I have cases before the ICC that they now have an opportunity to do whatever they want. Let me make it absolutely clear to them that my government is firmly in place,” he said.
He accused the opposition of attempting to cash-in on their absence from the country and the referendum agenda to instil doubts among Kenyans on their ability to lead.
“Weren’t they at the frontline encouraging Kenyans to vote in the current Constitution? Now that they’ve lost they believe there must be a problem with the Constitution. There is no Constitution for winners and a different one for losers. Let us all abide by the same constitution,” he said.
He also accused former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of hypocrisy for criticising the recently adopted Value Added Tax Act, 2013 saying the law was formulated when Odinga was in government.
“Why must we politicise everything. We must pay tax. How else will we pay for the loans President Mwai Kibaki took to build the roads? But I want to notify rogue traders that the government has eyes everywhere and we will not let you exploit innocent Kenyans.”
The Head of State however took a conciliatory stance when he thanked Kenyans for their prayers ahead of both his and Ruto’s trials.
Ruto leaves for his trial on Monday morning and given President Kenyatta’s adamance that he and Ruto cannot be at The Hague concurrently, the ICC may be forced to revise the tentative schedule that requires them both to be at The Hague between November 12 and December 13.