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Nakuru, Eldoret residents calm as Ruto charges confirmed

By | Updated Tue, January 24th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3


Rift Valley remained calm even as news of confirmation of charges against William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta sunk.

William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang address a press conference at Ruto’s residence in Nairobi on Monday. [PHOTO: TABITHA OTWORI/STANDARD]

Police in anti-riot gear, however, kept vigil as they patrolled Nakuru town and its environs.

Scores in the region, worst hit by post-election violence, followed the proceedings on radio and Television, but remained calm with majority declining to comment on the outcome.

Residents interviewed said not all was lost through the confirmation and urged the two politicians harbouring Presidential ambitions to go ahead and appeal.

" We must heed a call by the two leaders to maintain peace regardless of the ruling," said Kennedy Njoroge, a resident of Nakuru’s Shabab estate.

Drivers plying key routes remained hesitant from midday as they stopped in Nakuru town awaiting the outcome of the ruling and public’s reaction to it.

" I am now set to drive through the Rift Valley to Isebania, the Kenya-Tanzania border, having been assured that all was well along the route" said John Omenta, a bus driver.

It was business as usual in many parts of Nakuru town as traders went about their engagements with some saying Kenyans have learnt the dangers of participating in violence.

In various IDP camps in the region, peace prevailed with an official Beatrice Nyokabi saying they expected the judges to order Ocampo to carry out more investigations to accord them a chance to give their side.

In Eldoret town, residents went about their business uninterrupted.

Eateries and other socials places were a beehive of activity as residents followed the proceedings on TV.

Shopping malls, bus termini and markets in the town operated normally amid heightened security.

The contingent of General Service Unit (GSU) deployed in the region had no "work" to do as peace prevailed and there was no sign of an eruption of violence.

Analyse verdict

Immediately after the ruling, town dwellers following the exercise re-grouped along various streets to analyse the verdict.

Some residents, however, said they were happy that charges against Tinderet MP, Henry Kosgey and Post Master General Hussein Ali were dropped and hope accusations against the four would also be dismissed at appeal stage.

"We are happy Kosgey has been cleared and we are praying for Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Joshua Sang and Francis Muthaura," said councillor Phillip Keino, of Nandi County Council.

Nick Omitto, the Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) said confirmation of charges will have political impact on Uhuru and Ruto even though they had a right to appeal.

The popular Bunge la wananchi along Kenyatta Street in the town had by 2.30 pm started analysing options for Presidential contest in the next General Elections should Uhuru and Ruto be barred.

Some of the names flouted during the discussion spearheaded by ‘political analysts’ were those of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Eugene Wamalwa. Supporters of the politicians tried to give positive attributes for the leaders.