NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – The ninth prosecution witness has admitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Deputy President William Ruto called for peace at the height of the 2008 post-election violence, although a tad too late.
He said that if Ruto had called for peace as soon as the violence broke out, the gross violations committed in the Rift Valley would not have escalated.
Witness P0356 said that Ruto was adored by the Kalenjin community and that immediately he called for peace in the Rift Valley calm was restored.
He explained that Ruto went to KASS FM and Citizen TV where he appealed for peace and once he did so the road blocks that had been placed on various roads in the region were removed.
“And it came to my mind that on the first day when the fighting started especially in the area of the Kalenjin community, if Honourable Ruto could have gone to KASS FM or any other TV or radio station and asked the Kalenjin to stop fighting the damage which was done could not have been done to that extent,” he recalled.
The witness added that after Ruto called for peace on KASS FM’s Lene Emet show, Joshua arap Sang who is the Deputy President’s co accused Joshua started advocating for peace on radio.
The witness had on Tuesday accused Sang of using that show to spread hate against the Kikuyu community.
Large scale violence at the time broke out after former President Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as the Head of State under unclear circumstances on December 30, 2007.
Tension around the country had however been high even before Kibaki was sworn in.
The witness was however unable to remember the exact date when Ruto went to the media to call for peace.
“Do you remember when Ruto went to KASS FM?” asked prosecution lawyer Lucio Garcia.
“It was in January 2008,” responded the witness.
He at the same time mentioned a retired major only identified as Sumbeiywo, as well as politician John Koech as some of those who were elected into the Kalenjin Council of Elders alongside Ruto.
And although Ruto was declared the spokesman of this council and the Kalenjin community, the witness admitted that the council did not exist prior to 2007.
“I had never heard of it before 2007 and I didn’t know how the members were elected because community was not informed and I don’t know the formula that they used to select the members,” he said.
The prosecution has so far completed the interrogation of the witness and the defence team have started their cross-examination.