NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – Defence lawyers have begun questioning the 12th witness in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen tasked the witness to explain if he was proficient in reading and writing Kalenjin to which the witness said he could only understand the language.
“If you are in a situation where they were speaking Kalenjin would you admit you would miss out on some words?” Kigen asked. “When you speak in Kalenjin I understand,” the witness answered while admitting that he cannot write or read Kalenjin.
Kigen further challenged the witness to explain his interpretation of five Kalenjin phrases which he alleged that former Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and Ruto used in three rallies to incite Kalenjins to evict other communities from the Rift Valley.
The witness had told the court that the two leaders had a norm such that Kosgey would first use the phrases in his speeches then Ruto would replicate the same words.
During cross-examination, the lawyer told the ICC judges that the word ‘Kesich’ means giving birth to a child whereas the witness had interpreted it to mean to evict people.
However the witness after a clarification requested by Presiding Judge Eboe Chile-Osuji explained that ‘Kesich’ also had other meanings such as grow and produce.
Kigen also alleged that the witness had lied to the court when he said the Kalenjin perform circumcision ceremonies in the month of August.
“You were lying that the Kalenjin circumcision was in August…it is Luhya circumcisions that are done in August,” Kigen claimed.
Ruto’s Lawyer Karim Khan asked the witness if he knew that former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi was supposed to be former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s vice president. The witness said he was not proficient with the ODM leadership since he was not interested in politics and that he knew about Mudavadi through others.
However, Khan interjected, asking how he was not interested in politics yet he used to attend rallies and was also a member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
“You are not interested in politics but you woke up early to go to rallies, why on earth would you do that if you are not interested in politics?” Khan posed.
The witness responded; “I was attending so I that I can hear who our leaders wanted us to vote for.”
Khan who had one hour to cross-examine the witness on Tuesday will continue when the session resumes on Wednesday morning.