, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – It has now emerged that Deputy President William Ruto did not favour Raila Odinga’s candidacy in 2007 and had to be coerced into supporting him.
According to the ninth prosecution witness in the case against Ruto and former KASS FM presenter Joshua arap Sang, the then Eldoret North MP was cajoled into campaigning for Odinga’s bid for the top seat, at a meeting at his Eldoret home.
Witness P0356 told Trial Chamber V(a) that two individuals, only identified by their numeric codes 1 and 24, told Ruto that the Kalenjin people had already decided to go with Odinga and that he (Ruto) would be left behind if he did not join the bandwagon.
Former Roads Minister Franklin Bett is also said to have been ‘uncomfortable’ with the Kalenjin joining forces with Odinga and is said to have unsuccessfully tried to convince the community not to support him.
“Honourable Ruto was complaining telling the people that it was not right for the Kalenjin community to support Raila Odinga. But person Number 1 and 24 told Ruto that people (the community) had already left,” he recalled on Tuesday.
“I even remember them telling Ruto that people had reached Kapsabet on their way to Kisumu.”
The witness added that there were about 1,000 people at this meeting among them politicians Samuel Poghisio and Linah Jebii Kilimo.
Sang was reported to have been the Master of Ceremony at this meeting and invited the speakers.
“I remember person Number 1 speaking to the crowd but he was speaking directly to Ruto telling him that if he doesn’t join the people then the people would leave him,” explained the witness.
The name of senior politician Jackson Kibor was also dragged into the proceedings with the witness describing him among the wealthiest people in the Rift Valley.
The witness told the court that Kibor was in the same league as former Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott in terms of wealth and influence in the Rift Valley.
Kibor is reported to have been supporting Odinga’s candidacy and that he started pushing for Ruto’s election as Eldoret North MP when Ruto said he supported the former Prime Minister.
“Kibor and others were first to join the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and it was Kibor who was selling the ODM policies before the Kalenjin started following them,” noted the witness who also said that the Kalenjin adored Kibor.
The witness added that he heard person Number 1 giving instructions to some Kalenjin youths who were manning a road block in Eldoret at the height of the violence.
It was however not clear what exactly the witness heard from Number 1.
The defence teams are likely to begin their cross-examination of the witness on Wednesday morning.