, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The painful memories of the 2007/2008 post election violence were once again played out at the International Criminal Court, reminding the public how people’s tribes were used to either save or lead to their deaths.
This emerged as the tenth prosecution witness in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass FM broadcaster Joshua arap Sang took the stand on Wednesday, allowing himself to take a walk through the dark memory.
And he told the court how Kalenjin soldiers were used to protect and assist Kalenjin youths loot the property of those who had been identified as non-Kalenjins.
These looters were even paid for their ‘gallantry’ to bolster them into looting some more.
“They (soldiers) had guns and when the doors opened the people started looting and there were also parked vehicles. And there was money so if you looted something, they gave you money; if you took a mattress they gave you money,” narrated the witness.
Witness P0128 added that chaos broke out in Nandi Hills Town after the head of the Nandi Police was shot dead by with arrow, as he was addressing a crowd in which the witness was.
“The person hit by the arrow fell down and I was afraid when I saw that the policeman had been killed. I thought that they would start shooting at us and so I turned around and started running back home,” he said.
He had earlier told the court how all the men at a certain unnamed location were asked to head to Nandi Hills Town to the District Commissioner’s office owing to the increasing anxiety that followed the controversial win of retired President Mwai Kibaki.
And so in large droves they started heading towards the town.
But when they got there, they saw another huge crowd approaching from the other direction and as the police boss was trying to organise the crowd in which the witness was, he was shot.
“Before he (police officer) spoke someone came out from the other side and shot an arrow,” explained the witness.
The witness also recalled the acts of heroism that were witnessed as the crowd was heading towards Nandi Hills Town.
An unnamed person went around with a public address (PA) system announcing to the crowd and asking non Kalenjins to remain at the back and allow the Kalenjins among them to be at the front.
Non-Kalenjins were advised to copy everything that the Kalenjins were doing so as to be safe.
“When we got to place number three we stopped again. And there the person with the PA system asked all the men from other tribes to go to the back when we get to Nandi Hills Town and to do what the Kalenjins would do. We were asked not to do what we wanted to do,” said the witness.
According to the witness Ruto through supporters like former GSU Chief Samson Cherambos asked Kalenjins to come out and vote in large numbers so that once the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) takes over government, then all the non Kalenjins would be kicked out of the Rift Valley.
The witness stated that he heard Ruto making reference to tree stumps that would be uprooted once the ODM got into leadership at a rally before the 2007 General Election.
However when he was asked what that statement meant, the witness said that he only translated its meaning after the poll and after witnessing the events that transpired to non-Kalenjins.
“What happened was the violence and some people were forced to leave the places where they were living,” he said.