Bloomberg News

Kenyatta Resigns as Kenya Finance Minister After ICC Charges

January 26, 2012

(Updates with details on Kenyatta in seventh paragraph, shilling in last.)

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta resigned three days after the International Criminal Court ordered him to stand trial for inciting violence following a disputed election in 2007.

Kenyatta, 50, will remain as the East African nation’s deputy prime minister, President Mwai Kibaki said in an e-mailed statement today from the capital, Nairobi. Robinson Githae, previously the minister for Nairobi metropolitan development, was appointed as acting finance minister, Kibaki said.

The ICC charged Kenyatta and four others with directing violent attacks, including murder and forced displacement, after a disputed presidential election that left 1,500 people dead and uprooted another 300,000 from their homes.

Two months of fighting subsided after Kibaki, an ethnic Kikuyu, signed a power-sharing accord with then-opposition leader Raila Odinga, a Luo who became prime minister. They promised to implement improvements to the police and judiciary.

Francis Muthaura resigned as head of the public service and cabinet secretary, and will be replaced by Francis Kimemia, the permanent secretary of provincial administration and internal security, according to the statement. Muthaura, along with lawmaker William Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang, a radio presenter, will also be tried at the ICC. All four men say they are innocent of the charges and are appealing the decision.

Country’s Richest

Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy and the world’s biggest exporter of black tea. Economic growth is forecast by the government to accelerate to 5.3 percent this year from an estimated 4.5 percent in 2011.

Kenyatta, a possible presidential candidate in the next election, is the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and was ranked by Forbes Magazine in November as the country’s richest individual with a net worth of $500 million mainly from land investments.

His resignation won’t hamper the operations of the ministry, Yvonne Mhango, sub-Saharan Africa economist at Renaissance Capital in Johannesburg, said in a phone interview today.

“Kenyatta was a charismatic character as finance minister, but the finance ministry has technocrats who carry out the day- to-day duties and will continue with the same policies,” she said.

Kenya’s shilling strengthened 0.6 percent to 85.10 against the dollar by 6:10 p.m. in Nairobi, taking its gain since the beginning of October to 19 percent.

--Editors: Gordon Bell, Emily Bowers

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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