Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has resigned as Minister for Finance while Francis Muthaura has stepped aside as Head of Public Service
Kenya’s Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta resigned Thursday after the International Criminal Court ruled this week he should stand trial for his alleged role in 2007-8 post-election violence, a statement said.
Head of public service Francis Muthaura, one of the most influential men in President Mwai Kibaki’s circle, who was also indicted Monday by the Hague-based court, resigned as well.
Kibaki “accepted the decision by Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta to step aside as the minister for finance… However, Hon. Kenyatta will retain the position of deputy prime minister,” his office said in a statement.
Activist groups have gone to court to block Kenyatta from running for the presidency in elections due by March 2013 following the ICC charges.
One of Kenya’s top newspapers, the Daily Nation, on Thursday led its editorial calling for Kenyatta and Muthaura to quit office.
“It would be decidedly odd if a candidate for president was also a candidate for imprisonment if convicted, and impeachment,” it said.
Kenyatta, son of independent Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta and one of Africa’s wealthiest men, and Muthaura, often described as Kibaki’s right-hand man, face five counts including orchestrating murder, rape, forcible transfer and persecution in the polls’ aftermath.