Pressure continued to mount on Gatundu South MP Uhuru Kenyatta to step down as Deputy Prime Minister. Two State agencies held a press conference in Nairobi Friday urging Uhuru to vacate the office, which they said was higher than that of the Minister for Finance and therefore attracted a higher threshold of integrity. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on Administrative Justice said the same reasons that prevailed against Kenyatta to step down as Minister for Finance apply equally.

Resigned Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta

The organisations, however, faulted President Kibaki for replacing Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura with the Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia in an acting capacity. They said Kimemia’s appointment and that of Njeru Githae as acting Minister for Finance were unconstitutional.

In a joint statement issued in Nairobi the agencies noted that since the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was higher than that of the Ministry of Finance, it attracts a higher threshold of the requisite leadership, integrity and ethical standards. The statement read by Otiende Amollo, the chairman of the Commission on Administrative Justice, said the resignation of Kenyatta and Muthaura should be a precedent.

Drawn criticism

On the two appointments, Mr Otiende said they have keenly perused the Constitution and found no provisions that grant the President the powers to appoint the two positions in acting capacity. Last Thursday, the President appointed Kimemia to act as Head of the Civil Service Chief, and Githae as acting Minister for Finance. Muthaura and Uhuru quit following ICC ruling that confirmed they be tried for crime against humanity.

The continued stay of Muthaura and Kenyatta in Government had drawn criticism from the Civil Society and members of the Orange Democratic Movement. They demanded that the two vacate their offices, as the ICC case goes to trial.

“Kenya has reached a point of no return in the fight against impunity. If Uhuru respects the rule of law, he knows you cannot be DPM and an accused at the same time under the new Constitution,” Odoyo Owidi, an aspirant for the Kasipul parliamentary seat, told The Standard On Saturday. “By keeping one leg in, Uhuru is showing that even if he became president, he would not respect the rule of law,” he said.

Efforts by Attorney General Githu Muigai to calm the situation through the appointment of a penal of top lawyers to advice the Government on ICC ruling fanned the fire.

Prof Muigai’s advice that the two stay in office until their appeals are heard and determined caused uproar over how the Government was handling the ruling. Yesterday, Otiende who was accompanied by Dr Samuel Tororei and three commissioners from the KNCR also applauded the President for appointing a tribunal to investigate Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza.

By The Standard Team

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