, NAIROBI, Sep 8 – Kenyan radio boss Joshua arap Sang reported on post-election violence in 2007 that left hundreds dead, and now faces trial on Tuesday accused of hate speech and organising killings.
A presenter with the Kalenjin-language radio Kass FM, he will be tried for crimes against humanity accused of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and torture and persecution of political opponents.
Alongside fellow accused Deputy-President William Ruto, he will plead not guilty at the International Criminal Court.
Short in stature, a dedicated church-goer, professed teetotaller and super-keen Arsenal supporter, 38-year old Sang does not cut a fearsome figure.
But he is accused of inciting and helping coordinate attacks – including through alleged coded messages broadcast on the radio – against political and ethnic rivals.
Sang, from the Kalenjin ethnic group and from Kitale, is accused by ICC prosecutors of “fanning violence through spreading hate messages”.
On the radio, he is accused of “explicitly revealing a desire to expel the Kikuyus”, largely supporters of Mwai Kibaki, who in 2007 was named president for a second term amid allegations of vote rigging.
“I did not, I have not and I will never involve myself with crime against humanity,” Sang wrote earlier this year.
Journalist colleagues describe a jovial and “very social man” who regularly invited them out and bought their lunch.
When then ICC prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo came to Kenya to investigate the violence, Sang even posed with the man who would call him for trial, proudly posting the photograph on his Facebook page.
But alongside fellow Kenyans facing ICC trial – the president and his deputy – Sang now cuts a more forlorn figure.
“I liked the way media have forgotten that we are three suspects at the ICC, wish (ICC prosecutor Fatou) Bensouda could do the same,” he wrote on his Twitter account earlier this year.