Nairobi, September 21, 2011 (FH)  - As the International Criminal Court prepares to hold confirmation of charges hearings against three top officials accused of orchestrating post-election violence, many Kenyans are expected to watch the hearings live on local TV in restaurants, offices and homes. Opinions are divided over the charges, especially those against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, a high-profile son of the country's first president who has announced plans to run for the next presidential elections in 2012.

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"This is a case of political ties. I think somebody does not want him to vie for the presidency, which would be the case should the charges get confirmed at the ICC," said Philip Mwangi, a taxi driver in the capital.

And Nairobi hotelier Jackson Kalulu agrees. "This is all part of the politics of succession in Kenya," he said. "I know there are people who are behind this."

Simon Waswa, a software engineer whose family was displaced from the Rift Valley region, says nobody knows what kind of evidence ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has. "If he can prove beyond reasonable doubts that any of the three was involved, then they should be punished," he said. "If they are innocent, they will walk free."

School teacher Margaret Otondi also thinks justice must take its course.  "People died, so people must be punished," she says. "But I hope the ICC prosecutor has enough evidence to sustain a trial, otherwise it will be so unfair to accuse people falsely."

Meanwhile, respected political scientist Mutahi Ngunyi doubted whether the three will get actual justice in The Hague. "I can assure you that they would have got justice in Kenya under the new Chief Justice Willy Mutunga," he said in a talk show on K24 Television, which is owned partly by Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and Post-Master General Major-General Hussein Ali are accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in 2007-2008 violence that claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands. They are the last three of six Kenyans to face confirmation of charges hearings in relation to the violence. ICC prosecutors accuse the three of planning, funding and executing revenge attacks against pro-Orange Democratic Movement supporters during the violence.

Political analysts are divided on the decision to accuse Muthaura and Ali. "If Muthaura did anything wrong, then it was done with the knowledge of President Kibaki because he is cabinet secretary, the president's aide and head of civil service. The president must have known everything," said John Osano, a political analyst based in Nairobi.


© Hirondelle News Agency