NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – Prosecution witness P0268 on Monday told the International Criminal Court that politicians incited Kalenjins by basing their 2007 campaigns on the emotive land issue.
He explained to the court that they exploited the love the community has for land to instil fear, that they would lose their land to other communities living in the Rift Valley.
“The land issue is so dear to Kalenjins; Kalenjins have a history of dearly protecting their land. Kalenjins love their land and they cannot allow any idea to the extent that somebody else is going to take it over. Politicians exploited that issue every other time,” he asserted.
According to the sixth prosecution witness in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang, politicians told Kalenjins during political rallies that their land would be taken away if they elected a Kikuyu.
“Politicians while looking for faults would come up with the issue of land in the sense that if you support them (Kikuyus) the land would be taken away. So you need us to protect your land. Kikuyus living among the Kalenjins were the ones to suffer,” the witness alleged.
The witness recounted to the court the 2005 referendum in which he said it was Kikuyus against 41 tribes.
He told the court that politicians in the region lied to Kalenjins that if they elected a Kikuyu, their land would be taken away.
“Orange team particularly rallied … in the sense that land was going to be taken away from the masses if they indeed supported the draft constitution. The battle of the constitution was between Kikuyus against other tribes seemingly and it happened that land issue was more pronounced when it came to tribes in Rift Valley and tribes at the Coast,” he explained.
The witness further told the court that politicians had formed a habit of using hate speech during elections and referendum campaigns.
He said during the 2005 referendum words like madoadoa and kwekwe were used in the campaigns to incite communities against each other.
“Kenyan politicians have a tradition of using hate speech during elections. In the referendum you could hear words such as madoadoa and kwekwe referring to communities who live among communities that didn’t want them,” he recounted.
According to the witness, former President Mwai Kibaki caused fear among Kalenjins who thought they would lose government jobs after he took over power.
“When Kibaki took over there was talk in the sense that Kalenjins lost government jobs. During the referendum they wanted to settle scores with the government of Kibaki such that the government purged many Kalenjins who were occupying senior positions in government,” he alleged.