NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 25 – State House on Wednesday strongly rejected assertions by the International Criminal Court that meetings were held in the president’s official residence to plan revenge attacks in 2008.
A statement from the Presidential Press Service said claims that the meetings were held and attended by President Mwai Kibaki, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Public Service chief Francis Muthaura were mere rumours.
“As we have stated in the past no such meetings took place at State House, Nairobi and is indeed the product of the imagination of the so called anonymous prosecution witness,” the dispatch said, and directed journalists to the State House website to confirm the president’s diary on the days of the alleged meetings.
PPS admitted there was a meeting at State House on November 26, 2007 but clarified that it was not attended by any Mungiki leader or members as alleged by the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo in his evidence which was largely relied upon by the judges in confirming cases against Uhuru and Muthaura.
“On that material date, President Mwai Kibaki met his Kibaki Tena campaign team at State House, Nairobi, where he outlined his plans for a youth marshal plan,” the PPS statement said.
“Those in attendance appear on the photo posted on the website and the same was circulated to the media by the PPS on the same day.”
State House was reacting to reports appearing in a section of local media on Wednesday to the effect that Mungiki were assembled at the president’s official residence where they were allegedly paid and armed to commit violence in parts of Naivasha.
In their ruling issued on Monday, ICC judges said that Ocampo had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the meetings were held.
The judges said they largely relied on the prosecutor’s evidence about the alleged State House meetings to commit Uhuru and Muthaura to full trial to face charges of murder, forcible transfer of persons and rape among other crimes committed by the Mungiki in Naivasha.
“In particular, the chamber is satisfied that there are substantial grounds to believe that on 26 November 2007 a meeting was held at Nairobi State House between Mr Muthaura, Mr Kenyatta, Mungiki representatives, President Mwai Kibaki, and others,” the judges ruled.
The judges upheld the evidence gathered by the prosecutor and ruled that: “The occurrence, purpose and subject of this meeting are established, to the requisite threshold and in considerable detail, by the statement of Witness OTP-4, who was present at this meeting as a Mungiki representative.”
The prosecutor had indicated that there was another meeting held at State House Nairobi on December 30, 2007.
“The other alleged meeting of 30th December 2007 is yet another fallacy, because it is on this day that President Kibaki was sworn in at an event that was covered by local and international media and relayed live from State House, Nairobi,” the PPS statement said.
It took issue with the prosecutor saying; “It is extremely unfortunate that the ICC prosecutor relied on false and anonymous witnesses to bring in the name of the President on an extremely sensitive matter of national security.”
Muthaura and Uhuru have been committed to a full trial alongside Eldoret North MP William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang who are equally accused as indirect co-perpetrators in committing crimes against humanity which include murder, forcible transfer of populations and other inhumane acts committed in parts of the expansive Rift Valley Province.