Pressure on Thursday mounted on Cabinet ministers and top civil servants accused of sponsoring post-election violence to step aside until they are cleared by the International Criminal Court.
Human rights organisations, the private sector and religious leaders joined lawyers in calling on Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey to leave office in the wake of revelations by ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo that they bear the greatest responsibility for the violence.
They also demanded that civil service head Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali also follow suit pending the determination of the case.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) chairperson Florence Simbiri Jaoko said that those named in Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s list should step aside in line with the new constitution.
Similar calls were made by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) through its chairman, Eng. Patrick Obath, who called on the two principals to uphold the spirit of the constitution by asking the ministers and public servants to leave office.
“We also ask them to safeguard the Constitution by enforcing its provisions because they are the guardians of the constitution,” Eng Obath said.
Anglican bishop Beneah Salala also demanded that the four leave office until they are cleared.
“The new constitution is very clear that once a public officer is implicated in a criminal matter, that officer must step aside until they are cleared through the due process,” the Mumias ACK bishop stated.
But speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga maintained that Mr Kosgey, Mr Kenyatta, Amb Muthaura and Major Gen (rtd) Ali would continue discharging their duties until summons to appear before the pre-trial Chambers are formally issued against them.
“They will continue to hold public office until the summons are issued as per the Rome Statute,Mr Odinga told MPs while giving the government’s position on Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s move to name the six.
Anglican archbishop Dr Eliud Wabukala called on Kenyans to remain peaceful even as the ICC prepared to commence proceedings on the Kenyan situation.
Cotu blamed MPs for failing to set up a local tribunal to handle the post-election violence suspects, forcing ICC to step in.