Arusha — Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta has called on voters to elect him and his running mate William Ruto in March elections, as part of a "vote of no confidence" in the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Nation newspaper reported Thursday.
"I can assure you that the government will function even as we attend court sessions. You should trust us with your votes because this would be an endorsement to our leadership and a vote of no confidence to the Court itself," the paper quoted him as saying.
Kenyatta was addressing a gathering of Asian community representatives in Nairobi on Wednesday, according to The Nation. He told them he and Ruto would deliver their promises even if they were attending court sessions in The Hague.
"The president sometimes goes out of the country even for three weeks and the government still runs smoothly," said Kenyatta, who is son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta.
The ICC has charged both Kenyatta and Ruto with crimes against humanity for their alleged role in electoral violence that followed the last presidential elections in 2007.
Kenyatta's trial is due to start on April 11. He is being tried jointly with former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura. Ruto's trial is set to start the day before on April 10. He is being tried jointly with journalist Joshua Sang of Kass FM radio.
The ICC initially indicted six people in connection with the post-election violence, but charges against former Industry Minister Henry Kosgey and former police chief Hussein Ali were not confirmed.
The four accused have remained free and appeared voluntarily at their hearings so far. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has threatened them with arrest if they incite violence.
They have asked that the trial take place in Kenya or in neighbouring Tanzania, but the judges have not yet handed down a decision.