NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – CORD leader Raila Odinga has expressed his willingness to testify at the International Criminal Court to absolve his party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) of blame in the 2007/2008 post-election chaos.
Speaking in Kisumu after meeting the Luo Council of Elders in an attempt to resolve a dispute between the leaders, Odinga stated that he was ready to testify before The Hague-based court to vindicate ODM as it did not participate in the turmoil that resulted in the death of over 1,000 Kenyans and the displacement of hundreds of thousands.
“As ODM we never at any time planned violence neither did we plan to do harm to any sections of the Kenyan community. As such, and that if I am asked to testify, I am willing and ready to testify on behalf of my party the ODM but so far I have not been requested,” said Odinga.
When journalists sought to find out whether his willingness to testify meant he would absolve Deputy President William Ruto – who at that time was an ODM member and deputy party leader of blame – Odinga said Ruto had not approached him.
He took the time to also clear the innuendo that he wanted the ‘Ocampo Six’ tried in The Hague, stating that he and former President Mwai Kibaki had tried all they could to have the cases locally tried without success as MPs in the 10th Parliament voted in favour of The Hague court.
“I want to be on record to say that we tried as much as we could with President Kibaki to create a local mechanism to deal with our cases; we tried as hard to persuade our Members of Parliament to pass a law that would have enabled us to start a local tribunal,” added Odinga.
Deputy President Ruto welcomed Odinga’s offer to testify but said his conscience remains clear and that his innocence will be proved.
He expressed confidence in his legal team’s ability to handle the case while at the same time thanking well wishers for their prayers and support.
The case against Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang is drawing to a close in The Hague, and the last witness is expected to testify before the defence files motions of ‘no case to answer.’