Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, facing trial
in The Hague for crimes against humanity, arrived in London on May 6 to
take part in a conference on Somalia. Rights activists are planning to
demonstrate against his visit.
London was the first destination for President Uhuru Kenyatta outside
Africa. He arrived at London's Heathrow Airport, where he was welcomed
by British officials and staff from the Kenyan High Commission. He was
accompanied by his wife Margaret Kenyatta, Kenya's attorney general
Githu Muigai and other senior government officials. Uhuru and his
entourage are in the UK for a three-day visit.
Kenyatta is facing a trial at the Hague based International Criminal
Court. He is accused of crimes against humanity related to post-election
violence in 2007-08. He is to go on trial in July 9.
London, like the rest of the European Union and other Western powers,
has a policy of only "essential contact" with anyone charged by the
International Criminal Court.
Sani Dauda, DW correspondent in London, said Kenyatta is expected to
meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of
Tuesday's Somalia conference.
The Prime Minister's office would not confirm whether David Cameron
would hold bilateral talks with Kenyatta. "The prime minister will have
discussions with a number of leaders at the conference.
We're not discussing whether there will be bilateral or not," a
Downing Street spokesman told the French news agency AFP. "We therefore
welcome the decision of the Kenyan government and President Kenyatta to
attend this conference," the British government official added.
Kenya is a vital partner on Somalia. It is hosting more refugees from
the troubled Horn of Africa nation than any other country. It has also
provided nearly 5,000 troops to the AU peace-keeping mission in Somalia
Uhuru Kenyatta who was recently sworn in as Kenya's fourth President,
has been invited to take part in Tuesday's international conference on
Somalia by the British and Somali governments. However his visit is
already stirring controversy.
"There are all indications that there will be some demonstrations or
protests will be staged outside Lancaster house," Sani Dauda told DW in a
The protests are being organized by Human Rights activists. Dauda
noted that most Kenyans in London turned to social media to lend their
support to President Kenyatta's visit. However, there were those who
felt his presence at the London conference, would be a betrayal to the
efforts of routing impunity and corruption which have plagued the
Kenya's leadership on trial
Meanwhile the ICC on Monday postponed the trial of Kenyatta's deputy
William Ruto. The court said it would schedule a new date for Ruto's
trial after hearings on May 7 and May 14. In the hearings, the court
will discuss the prosecution's request to add five witnesses and the
defense's request to postpone the trial.
Ruto was due to face the Hague-based court on May 28 over accusations
he helped orchestrate tribal violence that claimed more than 1,000
people after the disputed elections in 2007.