Raila instigated post-election violence, ICC witness says

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was yesterday accused of instigating the 2007/8 post-election violence in parts of the Rift Valley.

A prosecution witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Raila warned of bloodshed in the country if his ODM party lost in the highly-contested polls.

The witness said the remarks, made days before the elections, broke the peaceful co-existence between ODM supporters in Kericho and those of the PNU led by President Mwai Kibaki.

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“Before this announcement, we were living at peace with each other,” the witness said while testifying in the trial of Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang.

But the allegations prompted a series of questions from presiding judge Eboe Osuji testing the credibility of the evidence.

The witness, who was testifying from Nairobi via video link, said he heard the ODM leader utter the remarks in November 2007 and repeated the remarks at a rally held in Kericho between December 21 and 22.

Osuji: Did you hear Mr Odinga on TV making the remarks that there would be a bloodbath in Kenya if he did not win.

Witness: Yes the presenter broadcast his voice and we could hear it from the TV.

Osuji: Was that the first time or the second or third time or how many times did he make the remarks?

Witness: I only heard him say on two occasions, on TV and at the stadium.

Osuji: How far apart was it in time between when you heard Mr Odinga on TV and when you say he said it at the location?

Witness: If I remember, at the time he made the warning on TV was end of November and the second was 21 or 22 December.

Osuji: Did you attend that first occasion or was it only on TV that you heard it?

Witness: I heard him on TV from a hotel. Even the broadcaster did not say where Raila was when he made the remarks he just presented the warning.

Osuji: On the speech at location three, were you there when you heard the words from Mr Odinga?

Witness: Yes, I was there physically.

Osuji: Were they the same words you heard on TV?

Witness: Yes, what I heard was the same as what he had said on TV.

Osuji: I consider this important for my own purposes. So I ask you to kindly say the exact words you heard at location three.

Witness: He said he had discovered that the PNU was planning to steal the vote and if ODM did not win there would be a bloodbath in Kenya. He asked the former president Kibaki to park and leave State House as he was going to occupy it.

Osuji: How big a rally was it when he said those words?

Witness: The field has a capacity of between 30,000 to 40,000 and it was full.

Osuji: Do you know if the television and newspaper people were there at the rally?

Witness: Yes, they were.

Osuji: When he said there would be war, who would be fighting or involved?

Witness: It was understood that ODM members would attack the PNU members if they won.


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