Kenyans want ICC suspects out of public office: poll

By benim
In East Africa
Dec 19th, 2010

Most Kenyans want public officials among the six suspects the International Criminal Court (ICC) has named as being behind the 2007 post-election violence to quit or be sacked, a poll showed on Saturday.

The ICC Chief Prosecutor’s list released on Wednesday included Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey, cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, now head of state-run Postal Corporation of Kenya.

President Mwai Kibaki said he was unlikely to take any action yet against the officials named.

A poll by Infotrak Research & Consulting showed that 82 percent of 1,500 people surveyed across the east African country wanted those named and in public office to either vacate their posts or be removed.

“Majority of Kenyans surveyed want those mentioned by the ICC prosecutor and do hold public offices to either quit their offices or be relieved of their duties,” the poll said.

All the six suspects, who also include suspended higher education minister William Ruto and radio executive Joshua arap Sang, have said they would go voluntarily to The Hague as they were confident they could clear their names.

More than 1,220 people died and 350,000 were displaced in the chaos that followed the general election, denting Kenya’s reputation for stability in a turbulent region.


The survey showed 61 percent of respondents were confident the ICC will bring to book those named, and 31 percent expect it to be swift in its prosecution. Another 26 percent expect ICC to carry out fair trials and provide justice to both victims and suspects.

The ICC case is meant to act as a deterrent against violence in future elections, next due in 2012, demonstrating that politicians who instigate chaos will be punished.

The poll showed 67 percent of those surveyed would not vote for any of the six should they aspire to hold public office, and 78 percent think the ICC process would affect politics ahead of the 2012 elections.

Analysts say the ICC process could destabilise the country’s fragile coalition government of Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, set up to end the bloodshed.

The government has said it will set up a local court to also try suspects involved in the post-election violence.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has said Kenya was free to other proceedings, but the case with the six suspects was now under ICC jurisdiction.

That notwithstanding, the Infotrak poll showed that only 1 percent of those polled wanted the six suspects’ cases to be referred to a local tribunal.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday and had a +/-2.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent level of confidence.

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