What you need to know:
- Jubilee plans to use its numbers in House to ensure motion lined up for debate sails through
- With trials looming, MPs plan to pull rug from under the ICC
A motion has been lined up in Parliament calling for Kenya’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.
Coming days before Deputy President William Ruto’s appearance at The Hague next week to face charges of crimes against humanity, the action might have a bearing on whether Mr Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta — whose case is set for November —will honour summonses by the ICC.
Leader of Majority Aden Duale told a fund-raising meeting that Jubilee would use its numbers in Parliament to ensure the motion sails through.
“I know I will get the necessary support from fellow MPs to pass the motion and sign Kenya out of the Rome Statute so that we can have our freedom back,” he said.
He said MPs, Senators and Governors allied to Jubilee also planned to hold countrywide prayer rallies for Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.
“It is time we used a political solution to deal with this issue. Jubilee will use its numbers to end Kenya’s relationship with the ICC,” said Kericho Senator Charles Keter.
The leaders said President Kenyatta would personally lead the prayer rallies during Mr Ruto’s trial, which starts next Tuesday. Mr Kenyatta’s trial start on November 12.
“As soon as Mr Ruto leaves for The Hague, the rallies will start under the direction of President Kenyatta and when the Deputy President returns, he will take over as Mr Kenyatta leaves for The Hague,” said Mr Duale, the Garissa Town MP.
The Jubilee leaders, who included Kericho County Women representative Hellen Chepkwony and MPs Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Kanini Kega (Kieni) and Erick Keter (Belgut) dismissed claims by Cord alliance leaders that there would be a power vacuum during the trials.
“When Ruto is at The Hague, the President and Parliament will work together and when President Kenyatta goes, Mr Ruto will be in charge. The rest can watch from a distance,” said Mr Duale.
He said about 100 MPs would accompany Mr Ruto, with 30 legislators from the Senate and National Assembly flying out of the country each week to offer him support.“We will also debate the ICC issue every day when Mr Ruto is away and disclose to Kenyans who the ‘owners’ of the ICC are and give the names of those who are behind the case,” he said.
Mr Keter said it was not a coincidence that calls for a referendum to change the constitution started just as Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta were preparing to attend the trials, saying it was a ploy by Cord leaders to undermine the popularity of the two leaders while they are away.
The leaders spoke as the ICC announced it would hold a status conference on President Kenyatta’s case this Friday. The President is not required to attend the conference in person.
The ICC has also scheduled a press conference on the eve of Mr Ruto’s trial to clarify any issues related to the cases facing him and former radio presenter Joshua Sang.
Mr Kenyatta faces charges of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of populations, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts while Mr Ruto and Mr Sang face charges of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution.