, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – A group of youth leaders from across the country have defended State House over claims that the president’s official residence hosted a meeting of the Mungiki in November 2007, saying they were the ones in attendance.
The leaders who have no affiliation with the outlawed sect, say they did met President Kibaki on November 25, 2007 where they discussed various developmental projects.
Led by Evans Gor Semelang’o and Yvonne Khamati the leaders said: “We wish to state that on November 25, 2007, we attended a meeting at State House Nairobi where we were hosted by President Mwai Kibaki, a host of Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament and party supporters. There were no Mungiki members at all,” Semelang’o said.
The group addressed a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday afternoon where they dismissed assertions by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo that Kibaki and Ambassador Francis Muthaura met Mungiki leaders in the presence of Uhuru Kenyatta.
“It is also a big lie that Uhuru Kenyatta was at the State House on the said date as alleged by Ocampo. There was no money that was given out on this day by anybody at State House. Again, these are fabrications which the prosecutor should have sought a clarification from the people who attended the meeting like us,” Semelang’o said.
“How can Kenyatta have dished out money to us yet he was not even at the meeting,” another youth leader Badi Ali wondered.
They said they arrived at State House at about 9am and left at 1pm.
“In fact when we were leaving, the president’s motorcade also left because he had another meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel,” the youth leaders said.
They insist the president did not convene any other meeting before or after they left State House.
“At no time did the president have another meeting and our meeting was the only one taking place at the time,” the group said, adding that “we even went out and took photographs with the president outside the main State House building where his vehicles whisked him away for the next engagement.”
A ruling delivered by the ICC judges on Monday cited the alleged State House meeting in indicting Kenyatta and Muthaura who are named by Ocampo as indirect co-perpetrators on crimes against humanity of the deadly violence that claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people in Kenya after the disputed poll of 2007.
The ruling upheld the prosecution’s findings that Kenyatta had funded Mungiki heavily through Maina Njenga, a former Mungiki chairman who has since denounced the sect’s activities.
“We are not Mungiki members. None of us has either been a member of the Mungiki or has since expressed interest in joining the sect,” Semelang’o concluded adding “we are saddened by the fact that this noble meeting and our good standing in the society is subject to question at the ICC.”
On Thursday, Kenyatta and Muthaura indicated they had vacated their offices pending the outcome of their appeals against the ICC ruling, or determination of their cases by the trial chamber.
On Friday, Kenyatta and co-accused William Ruto are scheduled to hold a peace rally at the Eldoret 64 stadium followed by another one in Ruiru on Saturday.