Were an intelligent being from space to land in Kenya and given rapid fire introduction to politics or political representation in particular, the first question they will ask is why would an individual charged with serious crimes against humanity even be contemplating to run for office?
They will not even need to know what the Constitution says about qualifications for holding public office, let alone vying for the presidency.
God’s naturally given common sense would have to lead them to conclude it makes no sense for someone accused of crimes against humanity to at the same time demand to represent the same people he is accused of having been responsible for the murder, rape and displacement of their loved ones.
Yet, since confirmation of serious charges of crimes against humanity against them earlier this year, Uhuru and Ruto have been behaving as if these charges are a mere nuisance to be brushed aside.
Indeed, right after the confirmation of charges, the duo embarked on extremely reckless and highly charged “prayer rallies” which had nothing to do with prayer but a blatant effort to incite and plant seeds of discord to further divide the country or even stoke violence.
Their actions were condemned by peace loving Kenyans, including the Civil Society one can assume the suspects heard an earful from the ICC they wisely heeded and toned down the rhetoric.
Granted, after confirmation of the charges, the duo and the other remaining suspects lodged an appeal challenging the ICC’s subject matter jurisdiction over the cases against the now Ocampo-4.
One can therefore assume on probably bad legal counsel from their attorneys, the duo were given the advice they should carry on with their political activities as if the confirmation of charges had not occurred simply because of the pending appeal.
Fortunately or unfortunately for the duo, the Appeals Chamber has now unanimously dismissed the appeal, meaning the last hurdle to start trial of the cases against the remaining suspects has been passed.
There is nothing now short of a small miracle will stop the cases from going to trial at the ICC.
This means in simple, practical terms that Uhuru and Ruto must now stop pretending that everything is hanky dory and instead get serious in mounting a defense against these serious charges they face.
It will be the height of arrogance and self-elevation to a level of importance unparalleled in history to demand that the duo should nonetheless be allowed to vie for the presidency notwithstanding these serious charges they each face.
There are those who argue, and these two suspects obviously believe in the same and that is, their being barred from vying is a windfall for Raila and his own presidential ambitions.
Raila’s prospects for being reelected as president actually significantly improve, almost like day and night if the two are allowed to vie and that’s a fact only those who don’t understand Kenyan politics may doubt.
Uhuru and Ruto should out of respect of the PEV victims and the unity of our country simply recognize they are in a bad jam they should not drag the rest of the country into their woes.
That does not mean they are guilty or that they should be banished.
Far from it.
As the leaders they claim to be, the duo should simply focus on defending themselves against these serious charges and let the rest of the country focus on electing new leaders.
If the two are found not guilty, there will be plenty of time ahead to seek whatever office they fancy and with such an acquittal, it may just be a walk to any of the offices they chose to pursue save for the presidency they still must individually make the case they have the leadership qualities needed to occupy that office.
The presidency is not a birthright for anyone.
Neither is it an office one must seek regardless of what the constitution says.
The constitution sets the minimum criteria and qualifications one must have to be eligible to vie for office, which means one can apply a higher standard and disqualify themselves if necessary.
There is no more apt case for such self-disqualification than in this involving Uhuru and Ruto and their quest for the presidency.
Both men must rise above politics and put country first and if they do so, there is only one right decision they must reach consistent with anyone with more than deminimis moral values and that is, removing themselves from among those vying for the presidency.
It will not be the end of the world if they did so and neither will it be the end of them or Kenya.