(RTTNews) – Kenya’s Higher Education Minister William Ruto, accused of involvement in the 2007-08 post election violence by the International Criminal Court (ICC), has been axed from the cabinet in a reshuffle by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President President Mwai Kibaki.
Although Ruto, a senior member of Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement, was already under suspension over a corruption scandal, he was widely expected to return to the cabinet as he was cleared of corruption charges in April.
The latest development confirms the fallout between Odinga and Ruto, who had been allies in the 2007 elections. The differences between the two came to light when Ruto announced that he intends to stand in the 2012 presidential elections in which Odinga is also expected to contest.
In the latest cabinet reshuffle, Prof. Margaret Kamar replaces Ruto as Minister for Higher Education, Science & Technology. As well, Moses Wetangula, a close ally of President Kibaki, was reinstated as foreign minister after he stepped down last year over graft accusations.
Others to lose their portfolios were East African Community minister Hellen Sambili and Assistant Livestock Minister Aden Duale. While Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta retained his portfolio in the reshuffle, Musa Sirma was named Minster of East African Community.
Both Ruto and Kenyatta were among a group of six high-profile Kenyans summoned by the ICC early in April to attend pre-trial hearings at the Hague-based court to answer why they should not stand trial for their alleged roles in planning the 2007-08 post election violence in Kenya, which left 1,500 dead and more than 3,500 others injured.
All the six suspects are accused of active involvement in crimes against humanity carried out by the main two rival political parties during the post-election violence, including murder, deportation, persecutions, torture and rape. All of them have denied any involvement in the violence and expressed willingness to face justice.
ICC chief prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo alleges that the suspects were involved in carrying out the crimes based on political affiliation on behalf of Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the main parties that contested the disputed presidential elections in 2007.
Post election violence broke out in Kenya after the ODM accused PNU of fraud in 2007 December presidential elections. It is estimated the post poll violence killed some 1,500 people and displaced 300,000 others in the African country.
The violence was finally halted by a UN-brokered power-sharing deal, by which Kibaki remained president while Odinga was appointed the country’s prime minister. Former UN Secretary-General Annan was the chief mediator in the successful power-sharing talks.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com