Media excitement over ICC withdrawal of Kenyatta case

Screengrab of Kenyan Daily Nation website Image copyright Daily Nation
Image caption Kenya's Daily Nation website announced the ruling with a 'breaking news' banner

Kenyan TV stations ran breaking news tickers as the news of the withdrawal of President Uhuru Kenyatta's case at the ICC was announced. The website of the leading newspaper, the Nation, carried a huge breaking news banner on its front page and the papers also reported the president's excitement over the news.

A presenter on the Kikuyu language Kameme FM radio station sporadically burst into prayer while announcing the news. The radio's presenters welcomed the news, as "the best news ever heard". They said the withdrawal was great news for the the president's ethnic Kikuyu community.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption President Kenyatta tweeted in upbeat mood following the ruling

President Kenyatta tweeted: "It has always been my position that the Kenyan cases at ICC were rushed there without proper investigation (#Vindicated)"

He also said he was "excited" and wanted to "run home to my wife" to tell her the news, the Standard newspaper said.

End of coalition?

There was a great deal of discussion about the fate of Deputy President William Ruto. The accusations against Mr Ruto relate to attacks on Mr Kenyatta's Kikuyu community, especially in the ethnic Kalenjin heartland in the Rift Valley.

An article in the Star newspaper predicted there would now be a strain in the ruling Jubilee coalition, which has occasionally been described as a union of convenience between Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta. "The prosecutors at The Hague could now tighten the noose around Deputy President William Ruto", the paper said.

It quoted a political science lecturer, Henry Amadi, as saying: "Historically, the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities have always lived in mutual suspicion and the ICC decisions may spell the end for the Jubilee Coalition".

Also being tried alongside Mr Ruto is journalist Joshua arap Sang, fellow Kalenjin and presenter of the prominent Kalenjin-language station, Kass FM.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) with his Deputy William Ruto (R) after the ruling

Kass FM's initial reaction was to announce the end of the case against President Kenyatta and then it continued with its regular programming. Another leading Kalenjin station, Chamgei FM, carried a factual report and did not feature any reactions.

Equally low-key reaction was observed in local radio stations broadcasting from the Lake Victoria area. This is the region of Kenyatta's presidential rival Raila Odinga, an ethnic Luo, and leader of the opposition.

Radio Nam Lolwe's news presenter said: "It is a big victory for Uhuru Kenyatta. But Ruto and Sang will still remain in the dock." Other radio stations broadcasting in Luo ignored the news.

Mixed views on Twitter

Many Twitter users were pleased with the announcement. "Now that Kenyatta is acquitted, maybe he can re-focus 100 per cent on his nation," @mugabebright said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kenya's Rift Valley was at the heart of the violence which erupted after the disputed poll

"The victims have only lost because ICC had the wrong people," @Charloh wrote while @BrownsonVK commented: "Just excited that my president is free at last."

Others had a different opinion. @GaelleCarayon posted: "Real losers here are the thousands of victims whose plight for justice remains unanswered." Another user, @ellyakanga, commented: "The ICC's failure to prosecute Uhuru is a triumph for Kenyatta and may be Kenya, but this case risks setting a dangerous precedent."

@DanielKiprutto posted: "Kikuyu MPs says vindication of Uhuru is a Christmas present. Tell Bensouda to take bold steps and drop the others," referring to a separate trial of Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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