Deputy President William Ruto was charged with post-election violence arising out of the disputed elections in 2007, in which about 1,200 people were killed. Nevertheless, Ruto became deputy president in 2013, serving under Uhuru Kenyatta, the current president. Following 6 years of prosecution the International Criminal Court abandoned its case against Ruto last month, after dropping a similar case against Kenyatta 16 months ago. The court ruled that the evidence was insufficient to proceed, blaming ‘political meddling’ and interference with witnesses.

Impact on country risk

The collapse of the case gives a major boost to Ruto as he prepares for presidential elections scheduled in August 2017, but is good news for his coalition with Kenyatta as well. When charges against Kenyatta were dropped in 2014, while the case against Ruto was sustained, the relationship between the two leaders was put under strain. With Ruto also unencumbered by the case, the partnership is strengthened. Moreover, if the alliance holds, it is not likely to lose the elections next year. The main ethnic groups supporting the pair are two of the most numerous and wealthy communities in the country, while the country still votes largely along tribal lines. However, ethnical violence can rise as other tribes feel left out of the government in the run–up to the elections.

Analyst: Jolyn Debuysscher, j.debuysscher@credendogroup.com