, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – Deputy President William Ruto’s Defence Counsel Karim Khan on Tuesday used prosecution video evidence to counter allegations that Ruto incited Kalenjins against other communities ahead of the 2007 General Election in Kenya.
In a video clip played in court, Ruto is heard telling people in Kapsabet not to be deceived that devolution means people being chased from where they live.
“If you are a Luhya don’t be deceived. They say with this devolution you will be chased out. If you have bought a farm here whether you are from Western Province or from Pokot or from Lamu…if you have a farm here, this is your home. The constitution guarantees the rights of every Kenya. Kenyans fighting against Kenyans is not on ODM’s agenda,” Khan translated.
According to Khan, the witness allegations that Ruto called for eviction of non-Kalenjins were false and that is why there was no evidence available to prove the alleged incitements.
“The reason why there is no video given by the prosecution or found by us of any words like this at any of these rallies, is because Mr Ruto never said anything else expect that all people live freely and safely,” Khan argued.
“Is it your evidence that the message you have attributed to Ruto at the three meetings was that one that non-Kalenjins including Luhyas should be uprooted and chased away or is that not your evidence?” Khan put to the witness.
Witness, “I did not say that, I said they used methali katika lugha.”
Khan, “and your evidence is the figurative language was meant to convey a message that non-Kalenjins including Luhyas should be chased away from the area.”
“Yes that is the case,” the witness responded.
Khan further informed the court that in the ODM 2007 election campaign was organised in such a way that Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi usually paired to sell the party in various parts of the country.
In reference to a newspaper article exhibited at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Khan read that Mudavadi and Ruto were on a campaign trail in the North rift where they attended rallies in Kipkaren, Saliant, Kabsaret, Kessis, Mosop and Eldoret East.
“Does this help refresh your memory that William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi used to campaign very frequently together? Khan asked.
“I cannot accept,” the witness responded to which Khan asked, “you don’t agree or you don’t know?”
Witness, “I don’t know.”
Khan further played a second video clip in which Mudavadi and Ruto were campaigning in Rarieda and Ugenya constituencies in Nyanza Province.
The other ODM top brass leaders concurrently held campaigns in Mosop and Nandi Hills where former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and other ODM leaders who included the then ODM Chairman and former Industrialisation Minister, Henry Kosgey were present.
On Tuesday, the 12th witness told the court that he had attended three rallies in which Ruto and Kosgey incited Kalenjins against other communities.
According to the witness, Ruto and Kosgey campaigned together in Rift Valley as Kosgey could not miss out because he was the ODM Secretary General.
He alleged that Kosgey would first address the rally where he used Kalenjin derogatory phrases to incite Kalenjins to evict other communities then Ruto would repeat the same message. He said he attended rallies at Nandi Hills Stadium and Kapchorwa where he heard the pair urge Kalenjins to ‘uproot’ Luhyas and other non Kalenjin communities.
Khan before showing the clips to the witness told him that Ruto didn’t go to Nandi Hills Stadium with Kosgey as alleged.
“Ruto never attended a rally at Nandi hills during 2007 along with Kosgey, is that right?” Khan asked.
The witness who had difficulties in identifying Nandi Hills from the photos and video displayed to him responded; “No, that is not true.”
On the Kapchorwa campaign, Khan exhibited a visitors’ book from the Kapchorwa Tea Estate which had Kosgey’s signature and name entered on December 20, 2007.
“At no time did Ruto attended a meeting at the tea estate together with Kosgey. If you went to the tea estate you would have known that Kosgey went alone on a campaign trail for MP and not presidential campaign. No entry of Ruto on that day,” Khan said.
The witness however insisted that Ruto and Kosgey were present at the meeting he attended at Kapchorwa, and he heard them incite Kalenjins against other communities.
On cross-examination the witness also told the court that he did not watch the confirmation of charges hearings conducted in September 2011 and that he only became interested when he heard that ICC was recruiting witnesses.
“Were you not interested in what was happening in what you wanted to be part of?” Khan asked. “When I heard they were recruiting witnesses that is when I got interested,” the witness replied.
Khan continues with cross-examination on Thursday morning.