NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 17 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) was told on Thursday that Deputy President William Ruto incited Kalenjins to attack Kikuyus in Eldoret.
Testifying before the court, witness P0376 said he heard and saw Ruto in the company of prominent farmer and politician in Uasin Gishu County Jackson Kibor tell a crowd to get rid of ‘madoadoa’ – a term he used to refer to non-Kalenjins.
“He (Ruto) told the crowd and the people present that time had come for the people in that area to show their true colours and do what was necessary and all what is available to make sure the ‘madoadoa’ are removed, because the people referred to as madoadoa were not in good terms with the area residents due of the political affiliation,” the witness alleged.
Under the guidance of Senior Trial Attorney Anton Steynberg for the prosecution, the witness explained that Ruto addressed the crowd in Kiswahili from an open roof vehicle.
The witness in the case against Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang recounted that Ruto, in the company of Kibor, were on the campaign trail when a crowd blocked their way and prevailed on him to address them.
According to him Ruto used the term ‘madoadoa’ to refer to Kikuyus who had occupied Kalenjin land; “the madoadoa phrase was mainly used to refer to the Kikuyus who had migrated to Eldoret.”
Since he witnessed that episode few months before the 2007 General Election, the witness alleged that Ruto’s Kalenjin supporters emulated his language and used the same derogatory term – madoadoa – to refer to Kikuyus.
“After that, Kalenjin people would repeat these words most of the times when they met with the Kikuyus or during political discussions,” he recounted.
According to the witness, Ruto is an influential politician who commanded outstanding support in his Rift Valley backyard; “Ruto is highly regarded by his people… with a lot of respect and his words are taken highly. People in that area or the Kalenjin people take Ruto seriously and normally no one would like to go against his directions.”
The witness who described to the court events that followed the announcement of the presidential results on December 30, 2007 recalled seeing groups of young Kalenjin youths armed with bows and arrows.
The witness said the Kalenjin ‘warriors’ also had vests and T-Shirts tied around their waists an indication that they were going into war.
He further told the court that he saw one of the warriors identified in court as Number 2 giving commands to the rest of the Kalenjin warriors after several houses belonging to Kikuyus were set ablaze.
The witness also recalled an incident in which he saw the body of a person identified as Number 11 shot with an arrow and hit with a blunt object on the forehead.
“I saw his body…There was an arrow lodged in his body. Those who had carried him had that arrow with them, they had plucked it off. On his forehead, he appeared to have been hit with a blunt object,” he recalled.
It was at that point that Kikuyus in retaliation gathered machetes in the neighbourhood and also butchered three Kalenjins near the Corner Mbaya Trading Centre in Eldoret.
“We heard some commotions there, people yelling and we rushed to the scene. I saw the bodies of the three Kalenjin warriors lying on the ground. The bodies had multiple cuts and one body had its head cut off completely. The head was lying near its body,” the witness lamented.
Based on his observation on the events that followed the announcement of the presidential results, the witness deemed that the attacks were not spontaneous.
“People got emotional, they were so angry. It is at that particular time that people realised that it was not a laughing matter and this could have been a properly arranged fight. That incident could not just happen – people to have with them bows and arrows at such short notice after the election results,” the witness opined.
Identification and attacks on Kikuyu houses also gave the witness more reasons to believe the attacks were premeditated.
The witness, who continues with his evidence on Friday, recounted several other reports he received from people who told him how they had been attacked by the Kalenjin warriors with some of them having had their relatives killed and their houses burnt.
Earlier in his evidence, Witness P0376 also told the court that Kalenjins used the word ‘Kwekwe’ to refer to Kikuyus as weeds that needed to be removed from Kalenjin land.