Ghosts of 2007 and the Coming Kenyan Election

Nathan Wangusi


Nathan Wangusi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida, Gainesville, United States of America.



Two of the four prominent Kenyans now charged with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague are set to become President and Vice President of Kenya respectively. That is if they win the March 4th, 2013 Kenyan Election! The two are the current Kenya Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and the current Eldoret North Member of Parliament, William Ruto.

One would think either Kenyans are condemned by their own idiosyncrasy and their many contradictions or they are being grossly underestimated by these two tribal leaders who have already been at The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity arising from their alleged role in the post 2007 election violence that engoulped Kenya and killed thousands, wounded many more, and left an army of homeless and destitute people to this day.

Here is a sense of the tragicomedy. What polls there are, show that a majority of Kenyans clearly support the ICC process in which the four prominent Kenyans are undergoing trail. At the same time polls also show that Kenyans support the suspects. Either the polls are wrong, and Kenyans are going to deal a decisive blow to end impunity, or the popularity of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto is real. If the later is the case then Kenya may be on its way to becoming a pariah state. 

Given this apparent dead heat, here are the scenarios and choices we face today in Kenya.

Scenario 1, the two suspects could put country and the people of Kenya above blind ambition and drop out of the presidential race. So that Kenyans get on with their life while the two take individual responsibility for their alleged actions.

Scenario 2: the two stay on in the race and loose the election and that will be that.

Scenario 3: the two stay in the race and the race goes into a runoff, which holds while Ruto and Uhuru are at The Hague attending their trial starts on April 11. This will produce a constitutional crisis for Kenya.

Scenario 3, the two win the vote decisively and become President and Vice President of the Republic of Kenya, in which case Kenya will join immediately the league of pariah states. Unlikely but possible,  President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto could decide to cooperate with the ICC and turn themselves in. Thus for the first time, a sitting president and his vice president will be on trail in The Hague, with the possiblity of a prison term. Where would this leave Kenya? 

Scenario 4 and the one I fear the most, Uhuru Kenyatta, his Vice President William Ruto, along with the two other two accused, are found not guilty and acquitted at The Hague


This outcome is bound to leave Kenya with the explanation that the unprecedented violence we saw in 2007 was spontaneous mass action,,  unplanned, uninstigated, and carried out by none. If this be the case, it will mean that the potential for violence in the coming 2013 Kenyan Election and subsequent elections in the country is real, and that violence perhaps even on a larger scale will be unavoidable. It will mean that Kenya as a nation is doomed.