Shun ICC suspects, says Annan

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan gestures during a press briefing on December 4, 2012 in Nairobi. PHOTO / AFP

What you need to know:

  • Mediator says voting for those facing crimes against humanity charges would isolate country

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has urged Kenyans not to elect politicians who have been indicted by the International Criminal Court in the upcoming General Elections.

Though he did not mention Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, the former chief mediator told the BBC that electing such leaders will sour Kenya’s relations with the international community.

Mr Annan said that it is “not in the interest of the country” for the electorate to elect a leader who will not be able to freely interact with the rest of the world including travelling to some countries.”

“No country today is an island. We live in an inter-dependent world. A leader of a nation should be able to travel out and in with other leaders being able to come here. There must be confidence and trust by other nations and the international community,” Mr Annan said.

Pressed by the BBC reporter on whether he was asking Kenyans not to elect Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, Mr Annan was diplomatic that this was not what he meant. Instead, he told the reporter “not to put words in my mouth.”

“What I have said is that certain actions are not in the interest of Kenya and I stand by that. Why should it be in the interest of Kenyans to put themselves in a situation where their relations with the rest of the world is complicated?” Mr Annan asked.

His comments are likely to draw fierce reactions from the Kenyatta-Ruto camps as the two have previously accused Mr Annan and other Western leaders of interfering with the forthcoming elections.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have formed a coalition to contest the election in which they have also roped in Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.

Even as they prepare to stand trial at The Hague over cases facing them and two other Kenyans in April next year, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have declared that it was their right to bid for the top seat.

Clear our names

“Even suspects have their own rights, in their own nations. From the time we were named (as suspects), we said we are determined to follow the due process to clear our names, but this does not mean we should be denied our rights,” Mr Kenyatta said on Monday.

The European Union and the United States are viewed as opposed to the candidature of the ICC suspects.

Mr Kenyatta has, however, told them off saying; “We don’t interfere with your internal affairs. We appreciate your concerns as friends, but you must leave the (Kenyan people) to decide,” he said.

In his interview, Mr Annan said that the international community was not meddling with Kenyan affairs and especially the elections.

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