NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – The second witness in the trial of Deputy President William Ruto took to the stand on Monday and laid out the command structure of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ahead of the 2007 General Election.
Witness 326 – whose image and voice were distorted to protect his identity – informed the court that Ruto and former ODM Chairman Henry Kosgey were in charge of the ODM campaigns in the Rift Valley.
“The campaign was being coordinated through Pentagon members. Representing Rift Valley was Ruto. The chairman was also from Rift Valley, so they could assist one another. For those who were also lucky to be nominated within the ticket also could reach them,” he recalled.
According to the witness, ODM’s main campaign strategy in the Rift Valley was to address the most ubiquitous pressing concern which was land.
He explained that huge chunks of land rest in the hands of few individuals while majority of people in the Rift valley are squatters fighting over smaller pieces of land.
“Most of the people in Rift Valley are squatters. They never had pieces of land yet some pieces of land in Rift Valley are just lying fallow belonging to individuals. ODM was advocating that when it gets into power it will look at those serious issues,” he explained.
The ICC prosecution witness told the court that the most disgruntled community was the Kalenjin who felt that other communities were occupying land which should belong to them.
“The Kalenjins were most dissatisfied with the distribution of land and they were most dissatisfied with other communities who are also in Rift Valley and own pieces of land,” he asserted.
Earlier, the witness illustrated to the court how former Prime Minister’s Raila Odinga ODM was formed and its leadership structure in the run up to the 2007 poll.
He said that it was not a bed of roses for ODM which initially saw its top leaders left without a party after those who held the certificate took off with the registration papers.
ODM’s Pentagon was made up of Odinga, Ruto, former deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi. Other members were former Minister Joe Nyagah, Mining and Tourism Secretary Najib Balala, Lands, Housing and Urban Settlements Secretary, Charity Ngilu.
The witness told the court of intrigues surrounding the name ODM.
He explained how former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka took off together with Daniel Maanzo to register ODM Kenya whereas Odinga and the rest of the Pentagon members were left with no party prompting them to negotiate with lawyer Mugambi Imanyara to give them the ODM party papers.
Once Odinga’s ODM managed to get the ODM party, the Pentagon members were each given a region to represent and Ruto was designated to lead Rift Valley province.
Witness 326 continues with his evidence on Tuesday.