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Kenya’s house speaker Muturi didn’t claim deputy president Ruto can’t be prosecuted

What seems to be a screenshot of a Facebook post by the speaker of Kenya’s national assembly, Justin Muturi, claiming that deputy president William Ruto has presidential immunity from prosecution, has itself been shared on Facebook.

Ruto’s office has recently been investigated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation.

“Directorate of criminal investigation director has no power or mandate to arrest our DP Ruto,” the screenshot reads. “Ruto has the power of immunity can't be arrested. read constitution well. president and his deputy can't be arrested or case while in power. Dr Ruto is part of presidency executive.”

The 9 March 2020 post has been widely shared on Facebook. But is it real?

Muturi not on Facebook

The tale-tell signs that the screenshot is fake is the mixing of upper- and lower-case letters and the poor punctuation and grammar. 

A quick search on Facebook revealed that there were at least three accounts claiming to belong to the speaker. But Muturi turned to his official Twitter account to say that the screenshot and Facebook accounts were fake.

“May all and sundry know that I do not run any other social media account other than this handle. As such, any other medium out there purporting to represent me is a FAKE ACCOUNT!” he tweeted on 9 March.

Deputy president can be prosecuted

The screenshot claims that the deputy president has immunity from prosecution. Is this true?

Article 143 of Kenya’s constitution offers immunity from criminal and civil proceedings to “the President or a person performing the functions of that office, during their tenure of office”.

“The immunity of the President under this Article shall not extend to a crime for which the President may be prosecuted under any treaty to which Kenya is party and which prohibits such immunity,” says the article.

Prof Jill Cottrell Ghai of the Katiba Institute, a legal thinktank in Nairobi, analysed whether Kenya’s constitution gave the deputy president immunity from prosecution, in an article published 17 July 2018.

She wrote: “It is clear the President can be impeached and cannot be prosecuted. It is equally clear the Deputy President can be impeached and prosecuted.” – Alphonce Shiundu


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