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Raila Odinga hails ruling, says ODM party never fixed DP

POLITICS
By David Ohito and Rushdie Oudia | April 7th 2016

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has congratulated Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang following the termination of their ICC case.

Raila said the development was a vindication for ODM, which had been accused of having a hand in the 2007-8 post-election violence.

This came even as some ODM leaders said the door was open for the deputy president to rejoin his former party, whose ideals they said, he was aware of. Led by ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba, they welcomed Ruto to join them if he was serious in his leadership bid.

ODM leader Raila Odinga congratulated Deputy President William Ruto on the termination of his trial at the International Criminal Court.

In his congratulatory message, Raila said his party had been vindicated of claims that it fixed the DP.

He said since the case went to the ICC in 2011, ODM had been vilified and portrayed negatively as uncivil, retrogressive and violent, and responsible for the loss of lives and property during the 2007-08 post-election violence.

"It has always been our position that ODM, to which Ruto was a key member in 2007, planned no violence against other Kenyans," said Raila in a statement to newsrooms.

The CORD co-principal claimed that a section of Jubilee politicians had spread propaganda that it was ODM that fixed Ruto after the violence.

At the same time, the former premier hoped that victims of the post-election violence would get justice and reparations from the Government to enable Kenyans forget the dark past.

"Justice must always be our sole, shield and defender," he said.

Raila spoke as it emerged that a victim, Bernard Ndege, who lost his nine children and two wives in Naivasha town during the violence is living a difficult life.

"I have received a paltry Sh10,000 as compensation for my family members since the post-election violence in 2008," he said.

Mr Ndege, who is one of the 18,000 integrated IDPs, is not moved by the ICC verdict on Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.

Speaking at his Komenya home in Homa Bay County, he said his life has been full of challenges since the post-election violence.

Separately, other ODM leaders welcomed the termination of charges, and asked the deputy president to rejoin the Orange party.

ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba said: "The Orange train is open to all. Even those who disembarked at some stage for whatever reason are welcome back as we race confidently towards victory in 2017. Bill (Ruto) was a fine player on team Orange and will always have a position in the party."

Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma said the decision to free Ruto came at a good time as it debunked the "lies on the ICC case that bound Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta", and which he said were used as an excuse to woo voters.

"The Jubilee coalition have no new lie to tell Kenyans. It forces them to work on serious policies that will endear them to the public," said Mr Kaluma.

He said the Constitution allowed Ruto to associate with any political outfit he deemed fit. "We never detached ourselves from Ruto. He just made a political choice to work with Jubilee," said Kaluma.

Dagoreti North MP Simba Arati said those who fixed Ruto were the same ones celebrating with him.

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