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Celebrations in Rift and Central DP William Ruto, Joshua arap Sang ICC ruling as day of special service set

By Standard Team | April 6th 2016

There will be a thanksgiving service at the Afraha Stadium, Nakuru, on April 16, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

President Kenyatta said this would be an opportunity for prayers for “healing, reconciliation and unity of Kenya as we push on the path of inclusive prosperity for all”.

Uhuru joined other leaders in congratulating his deputy William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang after the International Criminal Court (ICC) judges terminated their case.

The President said he was delighted that Mr Ruto and Mr Sang had been vindicated.

“This moment was long overdue but no less joyful,” he said in a statement.

He, however, added that the victory was partial and the quest for justice incomplete since the ICC blindly pursued ill-conceived, defective agenda at the expense of accountability for post-election violence.

“We will continue the work of healing the nation, uniting the people, reconciling communities and ensuring that justice for the victims is achieved,” he said.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai said he did not doubt the wisdom of the ICC judges.

“Admitting the no case to answer motion is evidence of the soundness of justice, and that ultimately justice has prevailed. The ruling is most welcome and we now appreciate that however long the night of malicious indignation takes, the dawn of justice is never far away,” he said.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Senate Deputy Minority leader Kipchumba Murkomen said the decision was an answer to the prayers by Kenyans for the duo who were facing crimes against humanity charges. “The Deputy President will now have time to concentrate on discharging his mandate. People must give him the space to deliver to make up for the time he lost shuttling to and from the Hague-based court,” said Mr Duale.

Mr Murkomen, a close Ruto ally, said the decision by ICC Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr that the two Kenyans have no case to answer, confirms that the matter was political and pure propaganda.

Aldai MP Cornelly Serem said this was a clear indication that Ruto and Sang were innocent and had been unnecessarily bogged down by the case.

Narok South MP Korei ole Lemein said: “Now as a country we can move on and live in peace and build a prosperous Kenya.”

Limuru MP Kiragu Chege said he was happy that the DP had been relieved of the ICC burden.

Big distraction

“The case was a big distraction, frustrating and an unnecessary burden, we are happy that it has been dismissed. We can now move forward as a nation,” said Mr Chege.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega said there was no way the case would have continued beyond where it had reached since it was politically motivated.

Meanwhile, celebrations rocked major Central Kenya towns after the ICC issued the much awaited verdict.

Various entertainment joints in Nyeri, Karatina and Nanyuki, where people keenly waited for the ICC verdict on television screens, burst into celebrations yesterday evening after the announcement was made.

The residents praised the judges for the ‘bold move’ of throwing out the cases, saying the cases were cooked up, while no proper investigations were done. Nyeri County United Republican Party Chairperson Hellen Wambui said the ruling would help Ruto concentrate on serving Kenyans.

Nyeri Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) Chairman Wambugu Nyamu said: “The courts have decided. Let justice prevail for everybody including the victims.”

In Laikipia, Governor Joshua Irungu termed the verdict God’s doing.

“We are really celebrating and we thank God for the grace and favour he has given our Deputy President. We are now urging him to be ready to hit the ground and serve all the people of Kenya - from all corners of the country,” Irungu said.

In Nanyuki, residents received the news warmly, saying their prayers, which had lasted for years, had been answered. Ann Mwangi, a trader in Nanyuki town, termed the ruling as the best gift for the Jubilee government. Like in Nyeri, a celebratory mood pervaded major entertainment joints in Nanyuki town.

“This is what we expected and the judges have just presented it in broad daylight,” said Mwangi Githaiga, a Nanyuki resident.

He hailed Ruto and Sang’s defence team led by Lawyer Karim Khan, saying they worked tirelessly to prove that they were framed.

And Eldoret town erupted into celebrations after the news broke. Minutes after the release of the verdict, hundreds of North Rift residents poured into the streets of Eldoret to celebrate the dropping of the case. They were joined by local leaders including Governor Jackson Mandago.

The town that had been anxious for the better part of the day immediately turned into ululations as dwellers turned to song and dance. They sang ‘Iyoni ng’o tumi’ and ‘Chomech Jesu’ (Who is supporting this celebration – Jesus loves us) as they moved in a procession.

Devil defeated

Eldoret is a commercial hub of the North Rift region, the home of both Ruto and Sang.

Hours before the ruling, business was going on as usual. Town dwellers went about their businesses uninterrupted as those who followed the proceedings expressed optimism that the no case to answer application would sail through.

Mr Mandago said: “The devil has been defeated. It is a lesson that the truth will never be defeated by lies”.

The governor added that they would organise an interdenominational prayer meeting for the “repentance of those who peddled falsehoods”. ODM Chairman John Mbadi was glad the ICC issue is over saying: “It won’t be used as a political campaign tool against ODM and Raila Odinga. Kenyans will now focus on how the Jubilee administration delivers on its manifesto.”

“ODM is now vindicated. It did not plan the violence as Kenyans have been made to believe,” he added.

—Report by Job Weru, Daniel Psirmoi and Jacob Ngetich

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Post-election violence victims' lawyer calls for fresh investigations
He regretted that despite the DPP saying he had evidence to prosecute the perpetrators of the violence, a number of suspects were free.