ICC witness caught lying about Ruto
Deputy President William Ruto’s trademark cap was Thursday displayed in court as the defence sought to discredit witness 487’s testimony that it was used to pass coded messages.
During Thursday’s proceedings, the witness also changed his testimony on the venue of a rally in which he claimed to have heard Mr Ruto call Kikuyus as “grabbers” who would be “put on the back of a pick-up and taken to Central Kenya.”
According to defence counsel David Hooper, the last ODM rally in Eldoret was not at the 64 Stadium as claimed by the witness, but at Huruma Grounds in Eldoret.
The defence had played three different video clips of ODM rallies in Eldoret beginning with the first on August 19, 2007.
According to the witness, he did not attend the August 19 rally, in the same way he was not at the second one on November 10 at 64 Stadium.
He had said that the last ODM rally in the region in December 2007 and which he attended was at 64 Stadium and which he had attended after being persuaded by a friend.
The witness described the venue, saying there was a shade under which the ODM leaders sat. However, the defence Thursday said the final ODM rally was at Huruma Grounds and the witness changed his testimony that he had confused the two venues.
Defence: Are you now saying that is where you were?
Witness: Yes. I remember that is the one I attended. Because I have seen how the meeting was. It is possible I had a confusion before.
Defence: Up to this time it was clear that the rally you attended was at 64 Stadium?
Witness: In my mind it was at 64 Stadium.
Defence: You did not attend any rally at all in December, did you?
Witness: I attended that rally. There could have been other rallies but I am a 100 per cent sure that I attended the rally.
Defence: I suggest that you have changed your evidence because your game is up?
Witness: No. I went to this rally. I stick to that.
Defence: That is the rally you went because your friends had insisted?
Defence: There is no shade at Huruma Grounds?
The witness said he could remember the rally because of the “dressing and the speeches” of the ODM leaders.
In the video clip, Mr Ruto cautions PNU against rigging the elections, saying, ODM was aware of it’s rivals’ tricks. There was no mention of ‘wanyakuzi’ (grabbers) as the witness had alleged Mr Ruto said in reference to the Kikuyus in the Rift Valley.
Then ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga, while addressing the rally, warned those who had benefited from corrupt deals including the Goldenberg and Anglo-Leasing scandals that his government would not protect them but would allow the law to take its course.
The witness insisted that Mr Ruto had used the exact word and challenged the defence to produce the full video of the rally instead of just portions that were reported in the media.
“Maybe you could have played Ruto’s part a bit longer,” the witness said.
Defence: On November 2012, you went to the prosecution and made up a story and got the rally wrong and the words that were spoken?
Witness: No! No! No!
Defence: That was quite a shocking thing to say. Isn’t it?
Defence: Did you ever see those words reported on televisions, newspapers or radio?
Witness: As far as I know, they (media) could not have reported that. In every meeting, they (media) pick a few words that they think are important. It wasn’t reported because it was something like a secret.
Defence: The PNU would have made a lot of fuss about such thing. Wouldn’t it?
Witness: When he said these words it spread in Eldoret. Even a five-year-old child would have told you what Ruto had said at the rally.
Mr Hooper also displayed Mr Ruto’s trademark cap, which is in the Kenyan national colours, which the witness said he recognised.
Defence: It is a very nice hat, isn’t it?
Mr Hooper also questioned why the witness had never mentioned the word ‘grabbers’ or ‘wanyakuzi’ in his statement to the prosecution all this while until he began his testimony.
Defence: The first time you ever mention these words is while sitting here?
Witness: Yes, because I know grabbers and Kikuyus mean one thing.
Defence: In any event, your account of events that struck you changed. Is that the case?
Witness: It is the same.
If I mention grabbers and Kikuyus I mean the same thing.
The witness had on Wednesday said Mr Ruto wore a distinct cap from those of other ODM pentagon members that he would use to pass hidden messages to the Kalenjin.
“As I said earlier, Ruto spoke in riddles and Ruto had a cap that was different from others. This cap had a great significance to Kalenjins especially Nandis. So he would say something and the Kalenjins would understand it differently,” the witness had said on Wednesday.
Mr Hooper also sought to discredit the witness’s testimony that Mr Ruto could have called for the eviction of Kikuyus. Mr Hooper said Kikuyus “were well-represented among the structures of ODM.”
The witness also told the court that the call by ODM was understood to mean that every ethnic community would be driven back to their ancestral land if the party ascended to power.
The prosecution and the defence also had a confrontation over the admissibility of evidence by the Ruto defence.
The prosecution wanted that all the videos and the newspaper cuttings produced by the defence be Marked for Identification and not be entered as exhibits.
However, Mr Hooper shot back that the materials were factual and if prosecution doubted them, it means they failed in their investigations.
The prosecution will have 30 minutes today to re-examine the witness before he is stood down from the witness stand. Thereafter, the next witness, number 268, will take to the stand.
The prosecution has requested that the next witness testifies in private or closed session for the entirety of the testimony.-nation