With their hopes now resting with the International Criminal Court’s appellate Bench, the going is getting tough for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto as options begin to dwindle.
Church leaders pray for William Ruto, Joshua Sang and Uhuru Kenyatta at an interdenominational meeting at the 64 Stadium in Eldoret Friday. Photo: DPMS
A state of anxiety has hit the political camps of the two political figures, as time continue to run out fast, their political fate slipping out of their own hands, a tricky court case to determine their future has been quickly lodged at the High Court while a much more punitive process of freezing their assets is also expected.
Further, the duo together with the other two accused persons – former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang – are expected to break from their habitual engagements as Article 63 of the Rome Statutes demand that they sit at the ICC throughout once the trials begin.
One question now is: Will Uhuru and Ruto participate in the race for Kenya’s fourth president?
Aware of the tough political future, think tanks within Uhuru and Ruto’s camps have set into motion a process of consolidating their supporters to prevent them from scattering.
Speaking to The Standard On Saturday, Ruto maintained that the confirmation of their cases has not taken away any rights from them as enshrined in the Constitution. They said their teams would seek to explain to Kenyans and their supporters the truth about the scenario.
“Even those who have gone to court to seek to have us barred from running are just hirelings contracted by opponents celebrating this unfortunate situation,” Ruto argued.
The Eldoret North legislator, however, said a clear decision on how to handle the political future following the aftermath of the ICC process would be dealt with later.
Inside sources, however, revealed that there was an increased urge to craft a common and a compromise plan as a fallback for the future among supporters of the two leaders.
“Even if they block Uhuru and Ruto from contesting they cannot stop their supporters from deciding the political course the nation will take,” charged Belgut MP Charles Keter.
But another top-level member of the Ruto-Uhuru axis revealed that the two would battle for their future using all means available.
“Even if the worst came to the worst and they are locked out of it, they must get a friendly system. They must put it to their supporters that what is important for now is to ensure suspicious individuals who cannot be trusted do not get the button and that individuals who have been working to fix them are equally locked out of it,” said an insider.
Separately top-level members of the two teams have been brainstorming on the circumstances and how the two leaders can capture the moment and turn around their misfortunes.
“These are tough times, but at the right time we will cross every bridge we will come by,” says Chepalungu MP Isaac Rutto.
Machakos MP Victor Munyaka called for the preservation of the innocence of the four suspects urging Kenyans to take their time and wait for the full trial to prove whether the suspects are guilty or not.
“The court made it clear that the two are not guilty yet, and that they are innocent until competently proved otherwise beyond reasonable doubt. Even the local law has a place for presumption of innocence,” Munyaka said.
But even as the confusion on whether the suspects can hold public office continued to dominate the political scene, Ruto and Uhuru have lined up a team of lawyers to standby for the local battle to challenge their ability to run for political office.
But on freezing of assets the ICC told The Standard On Saturday that the court may decide to freeze their assets at any time.
“The freezing of assets can be decided at any time. It is not a consequence of a decision on the confirmation of charges. This is a decision to be taken by the judges, and we can not speculate about it,” said ICC Public Affairs Assistant, Michele Johnson.
Anxious supporters of the two politicians can only wait longer to see the direction the political opinion and the legal battle on the political future of Uhuru and Ruto will take.
MPs allied to the United Republican Party, Ruto’s latest presidential race vehicle, and those supporting Uhuru, have been holding separate meetings during the week to analyse expected scenarios.
By ISAAC ONGIRI, The Standard