Ruto is on trial over alleged crimes against humanity at The Hague-based court, alongside journalist Joshua arap Sang following the 2007-08 post-election violence.
The MPs chose the St Anglican Church in Dagoretti to declare the Government’s commitment to pull Kenya out of the Rome Statute that set up the ICC by repealing the International Crimes Act.
They also indicated that the formation of the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) that will eventually be a merger of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance(TNA) and Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) is part of the ruling coalition’s long term strategy to consolidate power.
Led by Senate Majority leader, Kithure Kindiki, fresh from being appointed a Njuri Ncheke elder, the MPs supported the Malabo Protocol, that establishes the African Court of Justice, and mocked their rivals in the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) for opposing Jubilee’s anti- ICC stance.
MPs present were Maina Kamanda (Starehe), Rachel Shebesh (Nairobi), Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), Priscila Nyokabi (Nyeri), Maison Leshomo (Samburu) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South).
Others were Kareke Mbiuki (Tharaka Nithi), John Waiganjo (Ol Ojororok), John Chege (Kasarani), Richard Tongi (Nyaribari Chache), Kimani Wamatangi (Kiambu Senator), Benson Mutura Kangara (Makadara) and John Ndirangu Kariuki (Embakasi Central).
“We support the African Union declaration in Addis Ababa. As black people of the African continent, we are tired of insults and disdain from the West. There is no country in the world that can accept its President to sit and be questioned by foreigners,” said Prof Kindiki.
“Those people saying that President Kenyatta’s case will be revived should know that the case is finished and finished for good. Even that of the Deputy President will collapse. In the last elections, people were saying that Uhuru and Ruto would not be elected, but we told them it would happen. We are also laying the ground for our 2017 strategy,” he added.
Kamanda claimed that CORD leaders were dividing Kenyans along tribal lines.
“I would like to warn CORD leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula against dividing Kenyans along tribal lines. It is as if some Kenyans do not belong to this country. But they should know that we are several miles ahead of them as we strategise for 2017. Raila should accept that he was defeated and stop disturbing the President everyday,” he said.
The Jubilee legislators said the Government’s efforts to pull the country out of the ICC were on course.
Kenya on Saturday became the first country to sign the Malabo Protocol, which seeks to expand the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to cover international crimes.
The Jubilee government has also been lobbying for a mass walkout of African states from the ICC, a prospect that has attracted scorn from the Opposition.
The leaders’ statements coincided with the President’s return from Addis Ababa. The outcome of the case against him could have a ripple effect on the political landscape in the country, a possibility that their supporters appear keen to forestall.
In recent weeks, there have been efforts by Jubilee MPs in the President’s TNA wing to show solidarity with the Deputy President and reassure his supporters over his ongoing trial in The Hague.
Two weeks ago, Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi drafted a bill that seeks to amend the Constitution to include the Office of the Deputy President among those whose occupants are cushioned against prosecution during their terms.
This happened just days before Uhuru left for Ethiopia for the African Union summit, where he was accompanied by Linturi and other State officials.
By Wilfred Ayaga, The Standard