NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – Prosecution witness 11 in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass presenter Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday told the court that Kalenjin militia were trained prior to the 2007 general election.
In so doing Herve Maupeu, a social scientist, corroborated previous witness testimony that the militia were trained in the farms of former Kalenjin civil servants and police under the guise of initiation ceremonies.
“The Kalenjin militia groups were restructured or created in the autumn of 2007 during the initiation ceremonies and this was linked to a new phenomenon of neo-traditionalism,” Maupeu told the court.
Maupeu said Ruto advocated this phenomenon in his bid to oust former President Daniel arap Moi as the Kalenjin ‘spokesperson’ by shifting the dissatisfaction with land divisions from among the Kalenjin and toward the Kikuyu in order to consolidate their votes for the 2007 general election.
“There was a lot of frustration with the elite until that point. Because of the fact that there was a hegemony of camp Moi which corresponded rather with a little Kalenjin subgroup. And all of Ruto’s political career is marked by his wish to develop the representation of the Nandi,” Maupeu testified.
He said Ruto’s success on this front and the subsequent toppling of Moi as the Kalenjin ‘spokesperson’ is one of the reasons he is known as “an electoral beast.”
Especially, Maupeu said, as Moi was not averse to employing underhand tactics to remain at the top of the Kalenjin food chain.
“He (Moi) was quite skilful in minimising opposition within the ranks of his movement and to either put down or buy off people within the Kalenjin elite, sometimes he even resorted to violence,” Maupeu told the court.
He said Ruto was installed as the Kalenjin spokesman during what he described as the ‘Eldama Ravine Declaration,’ a neo-traditional ceremony at which 15 Members of Parliament were present, including Moi’s son.
“Similar to one held in the 1950s that appointed Daniel arap Moi as the spokesperson of the Kalenjin community of the day,” Maupeu said of the ceremony.
Maupeu also accused former Ministers William ole Ntimama and George Saitoti of propagating ethnic cleansing in the 1990s in order to retain their parliamentary seats.
Maupeu accused the late John Michuki of using the police force to wipe out the Mungiki in 2007 because he was aware they would not vote for him or former President Mwai Kibaki.
“In March 2007 various police forces massacred all the groups that appeared to be Mungiki in Central Province so by the end of 2007, the Mungiki had very little mobilisation capacity,” he testified.
Kibaki, Maupeu testified, also contributed to the post-election violence of 2007-8 by returning the Kikuyu who had been displaced in the 1992 and 1997 post-election violence to the Rift Valley.
David Hooper, Ruto’s defence counsel, however objected to Maupeu’s testimony on the dynamics of the post-election violence in the Rift Valley.
As he did on Monday, Hooper questioned Maupeu’s expertise on matters Kalenjin especially as they related to the militia he said was created in the run up to the 2007 General Election.
“The witness himself says that he cannot talk about personal research on Kalenjin militia groups. That there is a lack of information about it,” Hooper argued.
Hooper will have an opportunity to challenge Maupeu’s testimony further on Wednesday when he is expected to cross-examine him.