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Commission clears ICC suspects for Kenyan presidential race

Kenya's Electoral Commission has given eight presidential candidates clearance to compete in the tensely awaited March elections. Two face charges of crimes against humanity over the violence that marred the 2007 poll.

Überschrift: Run-up to Kenyan elections Schlagworte: Kenyan elections 2013, Clearance for presidential candidates Photo: James Shimanyula --> James Shimanyula hat die Rechte an DW übertragen

Kenia Vorbereitung für die Wahlen 2013

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former minister William Ruto have just taken a key hurdle to their participation in the March presidential poll.

Obstacles to high office might appear formidable. Kenyatta and Ruto are to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in April for allegedly orchestrating the post-election chaos that followed a flawed presidential vote in 2007 and 2008.

Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding father Jomo Kenyatta, is viewed in the country as a strong contender for the presidency. But he faces the dilemma as to how he would run the country, assuming he were to win the election, while standing trial in The Hague.

Speaking to DW correspondent James Shimanyula just after his candidacy had been cleared at the Kenyatta International Conference Center, he dismissed fears of a leadership vacuum. "We have our structures and there is not at any one given time going to be a vacuum in this country. The business of running the state will continue even as this case continues," he said.

Überschrift: Run-up to Kenyan elections Schlagworte: Kenyan elections 2013, Clearance for presidential candidates Wer hat das Bild gemacht: James Shimanyula Wann und wo wurde es aufgenommen: 30.1.13 Kenyatta International Conference Cneter, Nairobi Kenya, Was ist darauf zu sehen: Kenya's Jubilee Alliance Deputy Presidential Candidate William Ruto speaking at a Press Conference in Nairobi shortly after he was cleared by the Electoral Commission. --> James Shimanyula hat die Rechte an DW übertragen

William Ruto (seated) after his candidacy was cleared by the Electoral Commission

Kenyatta's Jubilee Alliance party is also fielding William Ruto, another suspect facing crimes against humanity charges at the ICC. He will be Kenyatta's running mate.

Chaotic primaries

Another strong contender for the presidency, whose candidacy was also cleared on Wednesday, was 68-year-old prime minister Raila Odinga. He leads the Coalition for Reform and Democracy alliance (CORD) and has been tipped by many to win the top job, having joined forces with his long time foe Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Musyoka told DW he disapproved of tribalism, voting along ethnic lines, which he said was planted in the hearts of the majority of Kenyan voters. "Tribalism, this is the thing we should run away from," he added.

Kenya has just emerged from chaotic primaries for the March poll, which many candidates claimed were unfair with party bosses giving preferential treatment to some contestants.

More than 1,000 international and 10,000 local observers will monitor the elections in just over a month's time.

The disputed poll in 2007 sparked off ethnic fighting that killed more than 1,000 people and drove more than half a million from their homes.


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