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Ruto calmed ODM, PNU rivals – ICC 3rd witness

Deputy President William Ruto and COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli outside the International Criminal Court

Deputy President William Ruto and COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli outside the International Criminal Court

The third Prosecution witness in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang told Trial Chamber V (a) that Ruto calmed warring Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporters after the disputed 2007 General Election.

P0189 told the court that trouble began few days after voting in the poll when ODM supporters alleged that PNU supporters had stolen ballot papers and hidden them at the Brookside Dairy in Eldoret.

“There were rumours that there were stolen election papers that were being hidden at Brookside Diary. The ODM supporters thought PNU supporters had stolen ballot papers and hid them at the Brookside Dairy. ODM supporters threatened to burn down the dairy,” she explained.

After a private session, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji asked for clarification from the witness regarding Ruto’s presence shortly after the PNU and ODM supporters clashed over the ‘stolen’ ballot papers.

“For the completeness of the exercise, the witness had testified that from the information that relates to her that Ruto was at the scene, and the purpose of his presence was to calm down the situation and calm down the youth,” the judge said.

The Prosecution however clarified that Ruto was not at Brookside Dairy but at a police station.

The witness who said she was a member of the ‘Kibaki na Warembo’ campaign group recounted to the court that PNU campaign plans on the outskirts of Eldoret town were thwarted as ODM supporters especially those from the Kalenjin community used road blocks and even attacked them.

“There was a day we went to a place called Sinai village near Eldoret. There were roadblocks, and we didn’t pass through. That day we were many… we were between 200-300 people. The roadblock was on the Eldoret-Iten Highway,” the witness explained.

She also said PNU supporters planned to campaign in Cheptiret, Kimumu, Munyaka and Langas – all areas in Eldoret and its outskirts.

She told the court that most of their campaigns faced animosity from the ODM supporters who were the majority in the area.

There were some areas we could go and we could be told this is not our territory and so we are not supposed to campaign here, so we have to leave. And sometimes, we would be stoned and sometimes they would block the road so that we could not pass,” P0189 asserted.

She recalled that after the announcement of presidential results, Kalenjin youths came in lorries from the direction of the Marura area along the Iten Highway and started attacking Kikuyu youths.

“We heard some shouting by Kikuyus. They were shouting ‘they are coming, the Kalenjins are coming’. It was the Kikuyu who were running away from the Kalenjins. They were coming from the direction of Munyaka, they were around 50 to 100 youths,” she recounted.

The witness who said she observed the nasty happenings between Kikuyu and Kalenjin youth from the compound of ‘No. 6′ told the court both groups were armed.

“A Kalenjin person is black, tall and slim but when in the battlefield they were all in chalk head and face. The Kalenjin youth were the ones with white faces and white heads but the Kikuyus were the ones with rungus and pangas and the Kalenjin youth were armed with bows and arrows.

After the Kalenjins drove away the Kikuyus back to their neighbourhood in Munyaka area in Eldoret, they went back and were banging the gate of compound ‘No. 6′ where the witness was holed up.

“The Kalenjin youth came back and stopped at House No 6. They attacked House no 6. It was the place they attacked first. I was in the compound, at first they could not get through there was a gate,” she explained before the session moved to another private session.

The witness who appeared under similar protection measures as the previous two witnesses also had his voice and image distorted with frequent private sessions.

The prosecution informed the court that Witness P0189 is likely to take one and a half days to give her evidence after which the defence will cross-examine her.

-CapitalFM

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