A Kenyan High Court ruled Friday it lacked the powers to determine whether Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running-mate, William Ruto, both facing international trials for crimes against humanity, should be barred from the electoral race.
The Judges unanimously resolved to dismiss a challenge to the duo’s bid to rule Kenya on the grounds that their candidacy for the Presidency was against the constitution.
The five-judge bench said only the Supreme Court had the powers to determine whether the two were suitable or unsuitable to run for office.
The 2010 constitution requires candidates for an election to meet strict requirements, including a corruption-free record.
Activists wanted Kenyatta and Ruto blocked on the grounds that they were facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and would be unsuitable to rule.
“We cannot exercise the rights of citizens to choose leaders of their choice,” the judges affirmed.
The Court insisted that Kenyatta and Ruto’s rights would have been violated by a decision to bar them from standing for the elections even before they are convicted of the alleged crimes at the ICC.
Kenyatta welcomed the ruling, stating: “Our march towards forming a jubilee government is still on course. Thank you all for all your support. God is great.”
Kenyatta’s main rival, Raila Odinga, also welcomed the ruling, saying he was happy the Courts had allowed Kenyatta and Ruto to contest the polls.
The two rivals recently clashed during a televised Presidential debate in Nairobi.
Odinga said it would be impractical for Kenyatta and his rival, Ruto, to rule via skype because they would be required to face the judges at the ICC to answer charges related to the 2008 poll violence.
Kenyatta and Ruto have both opposed the start of their trial in April this year, saying the ICC Prosecutor had ambushed them with the case after withdrawing some witnesses and failing to disclose the identities of several others.