|Deputy President William Ruto (right) meets Kenyans at The Hague after attending Wednesday’s court session. [PHOTO: PIUS CHERUIYOT/STANDARD]|
By FELIX OLICK
Deputy President William Ruto claimed top PNU officials and close confidants of retired President Kibaki fixed him over the 2007 post-election violence that landed him at The Hague.
In a surprise move at the ICC Wednesday, Ruto’s defence team said the officials, two of whom are in top positions in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Administration, linked him to the election chaos.
Ruto’s counsel Shyamala Alagendra linked Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo, Senior Political Adviser to President Uhuru Nancy Gitau and former Justice minister Martha Karua to the scheme to nail Ruto.
- 1 DP says BBI should not split nation
- 2 Battle for Weston starts as court rules against Ruto
- 3 Purge: Will they go for Ruto?
- 4 Nothing will stop my visits to Mt Kenya, DP declares
In President Kibaki’s Government, Ms Gitau served as Director of Political Affairs in the Office of the President while Iringo was Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Security.
Ms Alagendra said after the bloodletting that followed the bungled 2007 presidential polls, the three top government officials led the conspiracy that Ruto was the architect of violence that rocked the Rift Valley.
During cross-examination of the third prosecution witness, Alagendra said the officials coached and bribed witnesses who would later testify before the Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence that was led by Justice Philip Waki in August 2008.
“Madam witness, did you hear that some PNU and government officials wanted to link Mr William Ruto to the violence?” Alagendra asked during cross-examination.
And the female witness, who was part of Warembo na Kibaki lobby group that was drumming support for Kibaki’s bid for a second term, replied: “Yes”.
Ms Alagendra: Did you know that they wanted to blame Mr Ruto regardless of the truth?
Ms Alagendra: That they wanted to fix him (Ruto) even though he had nothing to do with it?
According to Ruto’s defence, the government, in a well-calculated move, went to the North Rift ahead of the Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence that was led by Justice Philip Waki to coach and bribe witnesses.
It is the same witnesses, they insisted, that later nailed Ruto before the Waki Commission on August 6 and 7, 2008. The counsel said that witnesses who testified before the Waki Commission were later taken into a witness protection programme under the watch of Iringo, who was then Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Security.
“Did you know that for some witnesses who testified or gave a statement to the Waki Commission, the monies for their witness protection was being disbursed by Mutea Iringo and Nancy Gitau?” asked the lawyer. The witness said she was not aware.
President Uhuru Kenyatta retained Ms Gitau and Iringo in his government and both work at Harambee House. The lawyer said those who were involved in the identification of witnesses to fix Ruto were Stephen Tarus, Abraham Limo, Bethwel Ruto and William Rono.
She also revealed that before the Waki Commission landed in Eldoret, a group of lawyers associated with PNU went in advance to take their statements.
Among the lawyers that the counsel identified included Mr Kamotho Waiganjo, a commissioner in the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), Mr George Morara, Mr Peter Maundu and Mr Njenga Mwangi.
“Madam witness, this group of lawyers that was with Mr Maundu was associated with PNU, is that correct,” asked Ms Alagendra.
And the witness, who is testifying with her face concealed and voice distorted to protect her identity, replied in the affirmative.
The revelations yesterday could be music to the ears of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his supporters.
This is because Jubilee leaders have always claimed that Raila and his ODM brigade fueled Ruto’s woes at the ICC. “I want to confirm to the House that the owners of the ICC have walked out. The owners of the ICC project have walked out,” said Majority Leader Aden Duale in reference to CORD MPs as Parliament voted to sanction Kenya’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
Alagendra yesterday said that while ODM was struggling to prove that their presidential victory was stolen, PNU was getting evidence that ODM triggered the bloodshed.
“You will agree with me madam witness that what was happening at the time is that ODM was very eager to show that PNU had rigged the election,” said the lawyer. The witness agreed.
But on Tuesday, the witness had insisted that Ruto was received with hostility and called murderer when he visited internally displaced people (IDPs) at Eldoret showground after the violence.
She said the IDPs believed that Ruto engineered the violence.
But according to Ruto’s defence, it was former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Kibaki who were given a hostile reception at the showground in April 2008.
But the witness admitted that there were supporters of President Kibaki in the 2007 election who voted for Ruto as Eldoret North MP.
The witness, identified only as 189, said there were a number of Kikuyus who supported Kibaki for the top job but preferred Ruto as their area MP.