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International Criminal Court witness tells of ‘bad blood’ before poll

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities used derogatory language while referring to each other ahead of the 2007 polls.

The fourth prosecution witness against Deputy President William Ruto yesterday narrated how the bad blood between the two ethnic communities started.

According to the witness, members of the two communities traded derogatory terms as they battled over land ownership which he maintained is still in existence.

“The Kalenjin people used to refer to Kikuyus as madoadoa (stains). The Kikuyu people used to refer to Kalenjins as ‘gachurie’ (derived from the hanging ear lobes of some members of the community) the witness said during his testimony in chief.

The prosecution has framed its case on the premise that Ruto declared directly or through use of parables that PNU supporters should be evicted from the Rift Valley, saying for instance that they were ‘weeds’ which needed to be removed.

“Witnesses will also testify how Ruto consistently referred to Kikuyus using derogatory terms like madoadoa, spots that needed be removed,” Prosecution Counsel Anton Steynberg said as the case started.

ON Wednesday, the witness only identified as 376 said the bad blood in Langas between the two communities began a few months to the General Elections.

Prior to that, he said, the atmosphere was calm and the two communities enjoyed good relations.

“There were allegations and counter allegations from both sides, especially those supporting PNU and those supporting  the ODM party, each accusing the other of irregularities,” the witness told the three-judge bench.

The witness also explained that the Kalenjins were bitter with the Kikuyu who had come to own most of the land in Langas.

Langas, he said, was previously owned by a European who sold it to Kalenjins in the early and mid-1960s.

He, however, insisted that Kalenjins subdivided the land and sold the majority to Kikuyus, who became the largest occupants of the estate.

“When the initial owners sub-divided the land among themselves, each member started selling his or her portion on the basis of willing-buyer-willing-seller. Then different communities bought land in Langas,” the witness said.

Apart from members of the Kikuyu community, the witness said the land in Langas was also occupied by members of other ethnic communities including Luhyias and a few Luos.

“The main issue was ownership. The Kalenjins who sold their portions did not and have not given them title deeds,” the witness said.

The witness will continue with his testimony today.

Meanwhile, a group claiming to represent Cherangany residents condemned Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed for her statement on Monday terming Joshua Sang’s trial at the International Criminal Court his personal problem.

In a press conference held at the Comfort Hotel in Nairobi yesterday, they accused Amina of downplaying the need for the Government to get involved in Sang’s case.

“We want to condemn the approach taken by the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary as she is down playing the need for the Government to get involved in the case of our fellow constituent Mr Joshua Arap Sang,” they said.

They said that Sang is a Kenyan citizen just like President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, hence he should also be accorded consideration in the bid to defer the cases.

“Mr Sang is equally a Kenyan citizen therefore he also commands the government’s support just like his co accused,” they said.


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