Social scientist Harve Maupeu has now told the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the case facing Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang that the post-election violence (PEV) of 2008 was spontaneous.
His admission came as a blow to the prosecution which had called him as their expert witness on the social and political dynamics of the 2008 PEV and through whom they had sought to show on Tuesday that the violence was premeditated on the premise of Kalenjin militia being trained prior to the 2007 General Election.
“People at the time didn’t realise the extent of what was about to happen and it was a surprise and a shock not just in Kenya but all over,” Ruto’s defence counsel David Hooper put to Maupeu.
To which he responded, “Yes. The way the election was organised gave rise to a lot of mistrust and a lot of people considered that the results were illegitimate. And in the major cities young people who were revolting reacted very strongly.”
Maupeu also admitted that he could not speak to the veracity of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) reports that had claimed that Kalenjin militia were trained immediately prior to the 2007 general election.
“Those NGO sources, of course, cannot be accepted on their own. You have to put them into perspective, put them into context and assess the quality,” he told the court.
He then testified that the mood of the Kenyan electorate prior to the 2007 elections was volatile and that, “there was agitation on both sides and it was known violence could be used – not that it was definitely going to be used.”
He also defended the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leadership, of which Ruto was a part, against previous witness testimony that they advocated for ethnic cleansing.
Maupeu said the ODM hierarchy was, “very careful,” not to promote this kind of majimbo where those not originally from a certain region would be forced out for fear of losing votes.
“So they did try to assure the various communities that lived in the Rift Valley as it were,” he said.
The prosecution however sought to recover its footing through the admission of Maupeu’s entire written out report which Trial Lawyer Lucio Garcia said painted a truer picture without the leading of the defence.
Garcia also sought to have articles by Jacqueline Klopp and Gabrielle Lynch on ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley admitted as evidence. And by so doing, the prosecution hoped it would put Ruto’s alleged use of ‘madoadoa’ in the run up to the 2007 general election, in context.
Hooper and Sang’s defence counsel Caroline Buismann however challenged their admission as evidence for the reasons that the information therein could not be verified.
“If we look at the Klopp article, Ruto, at one point it states, became the treasurer of Youth for KANU in 1992. He was never treasurer for Youth in KANU in 1992,” Hooper observed.
Buismann also challenged Garcia’s claim that neither the report nor the articles would be prejudicial to the accused as neither of them were directly linked, in them, to the 2008 PEV.
“Whilst we concede there’s no direct link to Ruto and Sang there are theories about organisational violence and all of this is of course relevant because that is why the prosecution has brought him in,” she put to the court.
Despite these objections, the chamber admitted Maupeu’s report with the prosecution’s twelfth witness expected to take the stand on Thursday.