Kenyan Deputy Premier Musalia Mudavadi withdrew from a political coalition formed to take part in elections next year, leaving behind two other leaders who are charged with war crimes to seek the country’s top offices.
The so-called Jubilee alliance’s remaining members include the National Alliance led by co-Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, a member of the most populous Kikuyu tribe, and lawmaker and ethnic Kalenjin William Ruto’s United Republican Party. Both men face crimes against humanity charges at The Hague-based ICC for directing clashes following Kenya’s last election in 2007 that left more than 1,100 people dead.
Mudavadi informed the coalition members yesterday that he would no longer back the alliance due to “a lack of trust, integrity and its failure to honor agreements,” spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi said by phone today from the capital, Nairobi.
Mudavadi told reporters this week that Kenyatta had signed an accord in which he agreed to step aside and allow Mudavadi to seek the presidency in elections scheduled for March 4. Kenyatta disowned the agreement, saying he was blackmailed by “dark forces,” according to the Daily Nation newspaper.
Mudavadi draws support from the Luhya community, Kenya’s second-largest tribe at 5.3 million people after the Kikuyu group, which has a population of 6.6 million out of a total of 39 million Kenyans, according to government statistics.
Jubilee’s main rival is the Coalition for Reform and Democracy, which includes Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission reported yesterday it had registered 14.3 million voters over the past month. That’s below the 18 million people targeted by the government and compares with a potential 19.4 million eligible voters, according to 2009 census data.
“It’s gone up slightly from about 12.6 million who registered in 2010 for the referendum on a new constitution, but they could have done far better,” Victor Rateng, head of opinion polls at Nairobi-based Ipsos-Synovate, said by phone. “I think more mobile registration centers, especially where the roads are bad and to remote places, would have helped.”
Kenyatta, Ruto and two other Kenyan suspects are due to start trials at the ICC on April 10. All four men deny the allegations.