Kenyan politician Uhuru Kenyatta could be elected president despite charges of crimes against humanity stemming from 2008 post-election violence.
The 51-year-old Kenyatta is the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and one of the country’s richest men.
He is ranked on the Forbes list of Africa’s richest men with an estimated net worth of about $500 million, with his wealth mainly derived from family holdings, which include a half- million acres of prime real estate, as well as interests in the media, banking and dairy industries.
But despite all his privileges, Kenyatta is considered by many to be a man of the people and a political leader of the Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest ethnic group.
The presidential front-runner studied political science and economics at Amherst college in the United States.
He began his political career on the urging of Kenya’s second president Daniel Arap Moi, who nominated him to parliament and later endorsed his failed 2002 presidential bid.
Kenyatta made another run for the the office in 2007, but withdrew from the race, putting his support behind the re-election bid of President Mwai Kibaki.
The president appointed Kenyatta minister of local governments in January 2008. He later took on the posts of deputy prime minister and minister of trade as part of a government coalition deal to end post-election violence that killed 1,100 people.
Kenyatta is accused of helping to organize the violence by mobilizing a Kikuyu militia group, the Mungiki, which allegedly carried out reprisal attacks against opposition supporters.
Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto both face charges at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Both have denied the charges but have agreed to participate in the trial, which is slated to begin next month.
If elected, Kenyatta will become Kenya’s youngest president. He also will be the second African leader indicted by the ICC, along with Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir. VOA