URP WANTS RAILA TO TESTIFY FOR RUTO AT ICC
URP lawmakers, including close allies of Deputy President William Ruto, are reaching out to Cord leader Raila Odinga to testify for him in his ICC case.
In a surprise about-turn, the leaders, led by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, yesterday maintained that Raila should demonstrate his statesmanship by standing with Ruto.
They argued that, after all, Ruto was one of Raila’s political lieutenants during the post-election violence crisis of 2007-08.
In a telling interview with the Star yesterday, Murkomen, a close confidant of the DP, confirmed that Raila would indeed be key in fighting off the prosecution at The Hague.
He said that as ODM chief, Raila is in a better position to convince the judges and the entire world that the party had no ideology or scheme to trigger violence and to evict other ethnic communities from parts of Kenya.
“Raila is an international leader and a national leader. It has been said that he has sacrificed a lot for this country, he should also sacrifice for the Deputy President for the sake of national unity,” Murkomen told the Star.
“As a lawyer, I would advice the DP to ask Raila to testify in his case.”
The Star has established that Ruto is already putting together his witnesses, with the prosecution case against him coming to an end.
Sources close to the DP’s defence indicated that Ruto is targeting a section of the now-defunct ODM Pentagon’s members to take to the witness stand and defend him over the deadly violence that rocked his Rift Valley backyard.
Raila, UDF leader Musalia Mudavadi, Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, former Minister Joe Nyaga and Lands CS Charity Ngilu were among the Pentagon members that campaigned vociferously to oust then President Kibaki.
However, yesterday, the head of the Cord Secretariat, Norman Magaya, said that no such request to assist the Deputy President has been made to the ex-Prime Minister.
“Anybody who wants to make any request is at liberty,” Magaya said. “The PM would look at it and decide.”
According to Murkomen, Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta should now unite in fighting to end what he termed “The Hague fiasco”.
However, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale insisted that Raila teamed up with a number of Western powers to block Ruto and Uhuru from standing in the 2013 polls.
“These new URP guys don’t understand the history of ODM and the ICC cases,” Duale said, dismissing the others.
“The ICC is synonymous with ODM and Raila Odinga.”
Last year, Ruto’s defence team told the court that top officials in both the Kibaki and Uhuru administrations were part of a team that linked him to the 2007-08 post-election violence, an accusation that landed him at the ICC.
The DP’s lawyers named then Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo and Uhuru’s senior Political adviser Nancy Gitau, both of them from the Mt Kenya region, as among his alleged “fixers”.
When the trials began, a prosecution witness implicated the Orange Party in the bloodletting, claiming that ODM bankrolled youths who went on a killing spree, raping women and evicting people from their homes in the Rift Valley.
The witness told ICC judges ODM gave out large sums of money to Ruto, which was withdrawn from a local bank and then distributed to the youth.