NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 23 – The International Criminal Court has been told that Mungiki leaders who led retaliatory attacks in Nakuru and Naivasha have all been eliminated by the dreaded Kwekwe police squad, to prevent them from implicating the organisers.
The sensational claims were made by counsel Desiree Lurf during submissions highlighting the criminal responsibility of former Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali in the post-election violence.
Lurf said that Ali ordered the elimination of Mungiki members who could have implicated Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura in the revenge attacks of 2008.
“Extra judicial killings of high ranking Mungiki members including the wife of the Mungiki leader (April 13 2008) and other two senior members on 28 April (2008) who were the link between (Maina) Njenga and the PNU leadership show that there was an effort by the Kwekwe squad to eliminate high level Mungiki members who knew about the crimes and could testify. Ali ordered the eliminations,” she said.
Lurf further told the court that the report of the UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on extra judicial killings in 2009, which recommended of the removal of Ali from the police force, also showed the continued existence of a police squad whose main aim was to eliminate the Mungiki and other suspected top profile criminals at the order of senior police officers.
Ali was also accused of frustrating police investigations into the post-poll chaos in a bid to ensure the main perpetrators evaded justice.
The court also heard that the weapons used by the outlawed Mungiki sect to retaliate in Nakuru and Naivasha were shipped form war torn neighbouring Somalia and transported to State House, Nakuru.
During the third day of confirmation of charges hearing in the case of the prosecutor against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of civil service Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, the prosecution said the Mungiki received the weapons in January 2008 after violence had broken out.
Prosecutor Adeboye Akingbolahan said: “In preparation, the Mungiki purchased weapons from Somalia in January 2008. According to prosecution witness nine, the weapons included guns and machetes.”
The prosecution said that Muthaura and Ali – who had prior knowledge of attacks against ODM supporters – ordered the unhindered movement of Mungiki into the Rift Valley and despite intelligence reports, Ali ensured that police had inadequate resources to combat thw Mungiki in Naivasha while Uhuru was in charge of the finances.
“Most of the money came from Kenyatta. Muthaura instructed police to create a free zone. On a query if police would interfere with the Mungiki’s movement, Muthaura said “the police will not interfere with your work.” He called Ali and ordered that Mungiki should not be disturbed,” Akingbolahan said.
On the third week of January 2008, Central province MPs mobilised pro-PNU youths at rallies. The lawmakers told the youths “to do something” about the attacks on their kinsmen. Volunteers then registered with the Mungiki, were paid and transported to attack locations.
According to the prosecution: witness 12 “The ones in Thika were paid to enter the lorry and were given Sh150, 000 to share among themselves.”
The prosecution affirmed that the suspects gave more money to Mungiki leaders to ensure their continued participation in the common plan.
“Sh20 million was given to a Mungiki leader by a PNU liaison two, to a direct subordinate of Muthaura and Kenyatta. Witness 11 said the liaison was answerable to either the two suspects depending on the nature of the issue in question,” he added.
The first liaison of the PNU is said to have given police uniforms to the Mungiki and was also responsible for distributing weapons.
Kenyatta is said to have placed the Mungiki under the authority of a former KANU MP, who coordinated the revenge attacks in Nakuru and Naivasha.
According to the prosecution, with the execution of the crimes of forcible transfer, rape, forcible circumcision and destruction of property, the perpetrators severely deprived the victims of fundamental rights against international law.
The court heard that the Mungiki inflicted injuries to the mental and physical health of the victims, forcibly circumcised the men, destroyed homes and used terror tactics. Accounts of prosecution witnesses reported that victims of attacks were identified by local informers and use of prepared lists.
The Mungiki and pro-PNU youths are also said to have set up roadblocks in and out of Nakuru to filter non-Kikuyus while persons from the Luo and Luhya communities travelling in public transport vehicles were singled out as the main targets.
Judges at war crimes court were also told that the government received intelligence reports in time to prevent retaliatory killings of ODM supporters after the disputed 2007 general election.
Lurf said that the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) had provided information on possible attacks in advance but that Muthaura and Ali deliberately failed to act.
Muthaura was the first among the suspects to mount a defence after the prosecution ends its submissions on Friday evening.