THE Law Society is planning to move to court next week to prosecute Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi for hate speech. LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said yesterday that they have gathered all the necessary evidence and the council will move to court next week if the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko takes no action. "We wrote to the DPP nearly a month ago asking him to prosecute these people. He responded to our letter by demanding evidence which we have given him. The council hopes that that action will be within the one month that we gave him. The month ends early next week and after that we will have no option but to proceed to court if Tobiko has not acted," said Mutua yesterday.
The LSK evidence is based on utterances made during Kamatusa and GEMA meetings held in April by Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. "There are people who know how powerful Uhuru is and there are efforts being employed to make sure his name is not on the ballot paper come 2013. As GEMA, it is time we supported one national leader who will lead us from the front," Kiraitu argued at the GEMA meeting at Jumuia Conference Centre in Limuru.
Kiraitu argued that the ICC case is a political case that requires a political solution. The meeting endorsed Uhuru as Central Kenya's presidential candidate and resolved to collect two million signatures to petition the UN General Assembly to delay the ICC trials of the Ocampo Four including Uhuru. Yesterday, the LSK said these utterances and actions are illegal under the National Cohesion and Integration Act and the International Crimes Act.
The Kamatusa meeting in Eldoret in April endorsed Ruto as the region's presidential candidate and leader of Kamatusa group. It resolved to collect 3 million signatures to lobby the UN. "We were victims who suffered extensively but we have been turned into aggressors", said a statement issued after the meeting denying that the Kalenjins were involved in planning the post-election violence." It is not clear if the LSK have identified other statements at the Limuru and Eldoret meetings that they consider hate speech.
The LSK also intends to vet all presidential hopefuls, their running mates, and candidates planning to run for Governor, Deputy Governor, Senator, MP as well as members of the County Assembly. Mutua said the council is concerned that there are deliberate attempts to water down Chapter Six of the constitution about integrity. "People must know that Chapter Six is not part of the decoration. We have seen a draft proposed Integrity Act that has watered down the chapter and this is unacceptable," said Mutua. "How can you propose that the new law will only apply to future crimes? In essence you are saying that if the law comes to effect later this year all those who have been charged in court in the past will still be able to contest. This is unacceptable," added Mutua.
LSK has now asked citizens and any local or international organisations to provide information on those intending to stand for political office. The information will be used in vetting and should be submitted in the next 60 days. "LSK welcomes all information, evidence (oral of documentary) as to the positive or negative aspects of any such prospective candidates as relates to leadership and integrity," said LSK in an advertisement yesterday. The society is concerned that Parliament has delayed in enacting legislation for the effective administration of Chapter Six on leadership and integrity.
LSK said citizens have been empowered by the constitution to enforce the provisions of Chapter Six. Debate has been raging on whether Uhuru and Ruto should be allowed run for presidency. The two want to stand in March 2013 but have been charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged role in the post election violence in 2007/8. However they argue that they are innocent until proved guilty as per the constitution. Another suspect Joshua arap Sang wants to stand for Governor of Trans Nzoia County. Former Civil Service head Francis Muthaura is the fourth suspect but has not declared interest in any political office.
The Leadership and Integrity Bill, 2012 released a fortnight ago allowed criminal suspects to stand for office unless convicted. LSK argued that it is mandated to assist the government and the courts in all matters affecting legislation and the administration of the law. LSK has said Chapter Six of the Constitution requires that a public officer brings honour to the nation, dignity to the office, and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office.