Ruto’s trademark cap sent coded message, ICC judges told

The Hague: The fifth prosecution witness claims Deputy President William Ruto’s trademark cap also had a lot of significance among the Kalenjins during the 2007 presidential campaigns.

The witness insisted that unlike other ODMluminaries, Ruto would put on a distinct cap to send a message to the Kalenjin, especially his Nandi community.

“In ODM rallies, and other political rallies, you could find only Ruto wore a different cap,” he said during his cross-examination by Ruto’s defence counsel David Hooper yesterday. “The cap had great significance to the Kalenjin especially Nandi people. So he would say something that the Kalenjin people could understand in a different way,” the witness explained.

The witness rejected suggestions from Hooper that the cap with the Kenyan flag was an identification symbol for the deputy president.

He insisted Ruto used riddles in his campaign speeches even during an ODM rally at the 64 Stadium in Eldoret, in which he sanctioned the eviction of Kikuyus. On Monday, the witness said Ruto referred to the Kikuyu community at the rally as grabbers who would be taken back to Central in a pick-up. “What actually did you hear Ruto say,” askedHooper.

Witness: As I had said earlier, he said Kikuyu people would be put in a pick-up and taken back to Central. That I heard very clearly.

But when pressed to confirm if Ruto actually used the word Kikuyu in his speech, the witness said the deputy president also spoke in Kalenjin and only used the word grabbers.

“Is it Kikuyus or grabbers,” pressed the British lawyer.

Witness: I remember that it was grabbers.

But according to Hopper, the word grabbers could have meant corrupt people who had stolen from public coffers under the regime of former Presidents Moi and Kibaki.

Mr Hooper: There had been a lot of grabbers under the Kibaki and Moi administration?

Mr Hopper: So they (corrupt people) were grabbers. Witness: Yes.But the witness was at pains to explain what appeared as contradictions in his testimony.-standardmedia

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