Posted by EVELYNE NJOROGE and JAMES MBURU on December 19, 2010
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19- Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has told political opponents of The Hague six not to celebrate the woes that has befallen them. At a COTU rally in Eldoret, Mr Atwoli also said people should not forsake them in their quest for the 2012 presidency. “I don’t support impunity but these people did not act alone. I want to call on their (suspects) friends to stand with them. They should not abandon them at their hour of need,” he said. He urged their friends to come out and raise funds to hire top notch lawyers for their defence at The Hague.
“Defending someone at the ICC is a very expensive affair. Ruto’s or Uhuru’s friends should for example each raise Sh100million so that they can help them hire the best lawyers in the world,” he said. Leaders from Central province have indicated that they will meet on Monday to raise money that will be used to get the suspects the best legal service. Mr Atwoli has also urged the residents of Rift Valley and Central Province to remain calm saying regardless of how long the International Criminal Court process takes; William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta’s political ambition to lead to nation would not die.
“Rift Valley and Central province residents should not worry because (Mr) Ruto and (Mr) Uhuru are both still young. Even if they are jailed for 20 years, they can still come back and vie for the presidency,” he argued. Even as the COTU boss was calling for reconciliation, civil society activists were breathing fire and threatening to mobilise a countrywide demonstration if the four public officers named by the International Criminal Court Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo as bearing the greatest responsibility for the 2008 post poll violence were not immediately suspended.
Under the umbrella of the National Civil Society Congress, the activists said Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, Henry Kosgey and Mohammed Hussein Ali who are in a list of six suspects should vacate office so that they don’t compromise the ICC investigations. “While their cases have not been confirmed, we call upon the “Ocampo Six” to vacate public office immediately since their continuation in office is an affront to Kenyans that are seeking justice,” the group said.
Making the call NCSC President Morris Odhiambo said the law also a required that public officers who have committed any crime that can bring disrepute to their offices should step aside until they are cleared of those charges. At a press conference, International Centre for Policy and Conflict Ndung’u Wainaina also cautioned politicians against making utterances that could cause unrest in the country. They said the indictment of the six masterminds is an attempt to end the culture of impunity in the country and is not aimed at destroying their political careers as it has been claimed by their supporters.