NAIROBI: If Kenya’s presidential hopeful Uhuru Kenyatta wins March 4 elections, his first foreign trip along with the vice-president could be to The Hague to face trial for crimes against humanity.
For east Africa’s economic powerhouse, the issue of a looming International Criminal Court (ICC) trial for Kenyatta has sparked fear of economic and diplomatic consequences should he win and fail to comply, analysts warn.
It raises the prospect that Kenya — a regional diplomatic hub, popular tourist destination and with a growing economy buoyed by foreign investment — could follow the path of pariah state Sudan, the only other country to elect a president indicted by the ICC.
The International Crisis Group think tank warned in a recent report Kenyatta and running mate William Ruto — a fellow ICC indictee – ‘in particular have challenged the ICC proceedings as politically motivated, and used them to rally their respective ethnic communities’ support’.
Their trials for their alleged role in orchestrating post-election violence five years ago in which over 1,100 people died are due to open on April 10 and 11, potentially clashing with a widely expected second round run off vote.