The International Criminal Court has announced that the cases against six Kenyan suspects will start in April 2013. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto theoretically still have time to stand for president in March 2013.
Nevertheless it would be bad for Kenya if Uhuru and Ruto insist on running in 2013, assuming that they are not first eliminated by legal challenges.
Firstly, it would make a nonsense of the election if voters knew that President Uhuru, or Ruto, would not be around to run the country as he would be on trial in the Hague.
Secondly, if there is a second round as seems likely, Uhuru or Ruto would not be able to participate if they reached that stage.
Thirdly, if Ruto or Uhuru were elected president and chose not to answer the ICC summons, then Kenya would become a pariah state. Kenya would be shunned by donors and the international community. The president would have to skulk in Kenya like President Omar al Bashir who cannot leave Sudan.
Both Uhuru and Ruto are dynamic politicians. They will have good chances in future elections. They should drop out of the 2013 election and play a waiting game.