NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The 11th prosecution witness in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass Presenter Joshua arap Sang told the International Criminal Court on Monday that the 2005 constitutional referendum elevated Ruto to the position of Kalenjin kingpin.
Social Scientist Hervé Maupeu explained that this was because Ruto, unlike other Kalenjin leaders, was extremely vocal in his defence of the majimbo system of government and hence the ‘No’ vote.
He said the vote demanded that ownership of the land in the Rift Valley return to the Kalenjin after decades of living as squatters on territory that was taken from them by the colonialists.
“In 2007-8 we saw that some properties of Daniel arap Moi were destroyed, the property of several Kalenjin leaders who hadn’t been very virulent in their defence of majimbo, their farms razed to the ground,” Maupeu testified.
He said the mood of the Kalenjin around the time of the 2005 referendum was volatile and that Ruto capitalised and benefited the most from that demand for change.
“You see there was violence within the community as well and the people do have their ways of putting pressure on the leaders themselves,” he explained.
Ruto’s defence counsel David Hooper however questioned Maupeu’s grasp of events, as they affected the Kalenjin in that period.
Hooper sought to show to the court that while Maupeu may be an expert on Kikuyu culture, and more specifically the Mungiki, he was no expert on the Kalenjin.
“You’re probably outside Kenya the leading expert on Mungiki. But it’d be right to say that this knowledge you have of Kikuyu culture wouldn’t be the same if we went to Nandi or Kalenjin culture,” he put to the witness.
An agenda Sang’s defence counsel, Katwa Kigen, pushed when it was his turn to establish the credibility of the witness.
“And therefore professor, even when you were in the Rift Valley your interest and attraction was in the functioning and dynamics of the Mungiki, isn’t it professor?” he posed to the witness.
Maupeu who lived in Kenya between 2000 and 2004 has published several articles on the Mungiki and is the first of three expert witnesses the prosecution had lined up to testify.
He continues to testify on the social and political background of the 2007-8 post-election violence on Tuesday.