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ODM offers to ‘rescue’ DP William Ruto, take battle to Uhuru

POLITICS
By Roselyne Obala | October 10th 2015
From left: ODM treasurer Ogla Karani, Seme Mp James Nyikal, Siaya County Woman Representative Christine Ombaka and Dr Oburu Odinga addressing members of the on the ICC mater. PHOTO.FIDELIS KABUNYI

NAIROBI: CORD leader Raila Odinga, his brother Oburu Oginga and the ODM political brigade have renewed their offer to testify at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in defence of Deputy President William Ruto.

The offer, which Raila first made in February, and which the ruling Jubilee Coalition spurned at the time, came as leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement party blamed Kenya’s former powerful spy chief, a former US top diplomat and two close confidants of President Uhuru Kenyatta for giving the ICC incriminating evidence against Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang’.

Addressing a news conference in Raila’s private office at the Capitol Hill building in Nairobi’s Upperhill area, Opposition lawmakers and ODM party officials, listed a series of events, people and actions by President Kenyatta, which they claimed point to an unofficial disinterest in rescuing the two Kenyans facing trial at the ICC.

“...contrary to what Jubilee is saying, Kenyatta has done nothing to make sure the case facing Ruto ends in his favour,” the Opposition leaders and officials said yesterday.

Raila’s offer to Ruto at a time when the Jubilee hawks within President Kenyatta’s party are weaving the sensational narrative of witness-coaching and evidence-fixing to discredit the ICC, points to an unspoken long-term plan from both sides of the political divide to woo the Deputy President and his supporters in Rift Valley ahead of the 2017 polls.

The former National Intelligence Service Director Michael Gichangi, Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) vice chairman and former head of UK (Uhuru Kenyatta) Centre David Murathe, former assistant secretary of State for African Affairs in the United States Government Jenday Frazer are some of the new names that ODM has roped in in the latest back and forth with the Jubilee coalition.

Dr Oginga together with ODM political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), deputy treasurer Ogla Karani, Florence Mutua (Busia County MP), Christine Ombaka (Siaya County MP), James Nyikal (Seme), Silas Jakakimba and Edwin Sifuna blamed the former intelligence chief of giving the ICC classified evidence, which they believe is the basis of Ruto’s case.

“Personally, I believe Ruto is innocent. We were with him throughout the electoral period in 2007. He was a pentagon member and even when there were skirmishes in his backyard, he was with us. I am ready to testify in his favour, those testifying against him were our opponents in PNU (Party of National Unity)... The party leader has offered to do so and many other ODM members,” he said. The ODM leaders stressed on “honesty and truth” as virtues for good governance which they challenged the ruling Jubilee coalition to emulate.

NIS EVIDENCE

“We detest politics of lies, misinformation and mere survival. We therefore reluctantly return to the matter of the case facing Ruto and Sang’ at The Hague because we believe this nation needs to be set free and only the truth shall set us free,” said Ms Karani who read the statement.

The party censured Gichangi, whom it accused of providing very critical evidence.

“Gichangi testified on July 21, 2008 and gave a dossier that named and implicated Ruto. The ICC pre-trial Chamber relied a lot on the evidence supplied by Gichangi to confirm the charges against Ruto. Later, Gichangi’s name was submitted to the ICC as one of the witnesses for Kenyatta’s case,” claimed the ODM brigade.

The party continued: “This made it clear who Gichangi was working for all along. On this matter of ICC, Gichangi was working for Kenyatta. When Jubilee took over power, Ruto asked Kenyatta to let him have the evidence held by NIS to assist in his defense, but he refused, even despite the fact that Ruto was his deputy and entitled to intelligence information.”

Dr Jendayi Frazer finds herself on the receiving end for allegedly being a close family friend of the Kenyattas and therefore, the Opposition says, she was instrumental in getting ICC off the president’s back but not the deputy.

Further, despite being described as “doing a good job for the President and his deputy” at The Hague, Ambassador Ruthie Chepkoech Rono was removed by Kenyatta as High Commissioner for Kenya to The Hague.

The Opposition questioned why Amb Rono was replaced by “a junior diplomat”, Amb Rose Makena Muchiri, just when Kenya needed its best and experienced diplomat at The Hague.

The Opposition also weighed in on Mr Kuria’s confession, that he procured and coached witnesses against Ruto in 2008, as a direct indictment of the President.

“At that time, Kuria was an employee of Kenyatta. He had seconded him to the PNU presidential campaign, which Kenyatta had joined when he agreed to support Mwai Kibaki’s bid for a second term. After the 2007 elections, Kuria joined the UK Centre, which was the headquarters of Kenyatta’s political activities.

“He continued to work there until he was elected Gatundu South MP. Kuria was always an employee and agent of Kenyatta in procuring and coaching witnesses against Ruto,” the ODM leaders claimed at the press conference.

The Opposition also dragged Murathe into the fixing saga and alleged he hired Kuria and therefore the President cannot claim to be ignorant of what the two did.

The leaders recounted how PNU/Kenyatta’s faction convinced Ruto that Karim Khan was the lawyer that would help him and that he should reject ODM’s offer of George Oraro who managed to free Henry Kosgey.

“Until this day, Karim is paid by Kenyatta and his government and Ruto’s case keeps going from bad to worse,” claimed Karani.

On Jendayi, the leaders claimed she dedicated her time to fighting the ICC on Kenyatta’s behalf, and ever since the case was dropped, she kept quiet and let the court continue with the prosecution of Ruto.

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