International Criminal Court rules Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and William Ruto will be tried on five counts [Reuters]

Kenya's finance minister who was indicted this week to stand trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, has resigned, the government has said.
Uhuru Kenyatta faced mounting calls for his resignation as a minister by some colleagues in the cabinet after the confirmation of charges by the ICC. On Thursday, two leading national dailies carried editorials calling for his resignation.

Kenyatta says he is innocent of the charges, which claim he directed a militia accused of murder and rape during the violence that killed an estimated 1,220 people and uprooted hundreds of thousands after a disputed 2007 election.

The president's offices said Robinson Githae, a lawyer and cabinet minister for metropolitan development, was named acting finance minister.

"The president has accepted the decision by Uhuru Kenyatta to step aside as the minister for finance," a statement from the presidency said.

Multiple charges

The government added that Kenyatta would remain deputy prime minister in accordance with the constitution. The positions of prime minister and two deputies were created in 2008 as part of a deal to end the electoral violence and form a coalition government.

Francis Muthaura, head of the civil service and secretary to the cabinet, was charged on the same cahrges as Kenyatta. Muthaura has also resigned his position, the office of the president added.

Kenyatta, son of independent Kenya's founding father Jomo Kenyatta is one of Africa's wealthiest men and Muthaura, often described as President Mwai Kibaki's right-hand man, face five counts including orchestrating murder, rape, forcible transfer and persecution. 

Source: Agencies