By Tom Maliti
A witness described how the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election reduced him to zero and his children have found it difficult to continue with their schooling.
Witness 128 also told the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday that he saw Samson Charamboss, a former senior police officer, talking to young men who were controlling road blocks on an unnamed road. The witness only indicated the road as number three from a protected information sheet he used in court.
Charamboss is a former head of the presidential security service and also a former head of the Kenyan police’s paramilitary unit. The prosecution had alleged during the pre-trial phase that he was one of the commanders supervising the violence that occurred in the North Rift region following the 2007 election.
Witness 128 said he decided to flee his home of 10 years in what was only described as location one in open court after he saw a police officer shot with an arrow and killed. He said a young Kalenjin man shot the police officer.
The witness said this took place days after the results of the presidential election were announced and people had been asked to gather at the office of the district commissioner in Nandi Hills. He said that as he fled he looked behind and saw Kalenjin youth directing others to loot shops owned by Kikuyus.
Witness 128 said that he got home and went with part of his family to a place identified only as location eight, where the witness said he was born. The following morning the witness said he returned for his children whom he had left at location one. As he returned to location one he said he found road blocks and fires lit on the way. The witness said that the previous day there had not been any road blocks.
It is at one of the road blocks that he said he saw Charamboss talking to the young men who were controlling it. He said Charamboss was driving a blue Pajero that the witness had seen him drive for a long time.
The witness had said earlier in the day that Charamboss supervised the organization of a rally held in November 2007 in the Nandi Hills area at which William Sameoi Ruto was the guest of honor. Ruto, who is now Deputy President of Kenya, was at the time a top leader of the Orange Democratic Movement party and a member of parliament.
Witness 128 said the rally was held in a place called Kobujoi, and he claimed Ruto spoke in code. The witness alleged that Ruto called on the Kalenjin to vote in large numbers for ODM in the December 2007 election and when the party formed the government, the Kalenjin would be able “to uproot the tree stumps” and get back their land. The witness explained that at the time of the rally he did not understand what Ruto meant, but when the violence broke out and Luhyas and Kikuyus were attacked he said he then understood the meaning of Ruto’s words.
The witness also said that Charamboss spoke at another rally at a separate venue, Koyo. Witness 128 claimed that Charamboss said at the Koyo rally that if ODM won then the Kalenjin would be able to do whatever they wanted, including taking back their land from the Luhya.
Witness 128 said that he has not returned to location one since he fled with his family in early 2008. He said he did not feel safe returning there. He also said that he had been told by some people who returned there that his property and crops had been pillaged. The witness said that his children have found it difficult to continue with their education, and they have had to repeat classes.
Witness 128 will continue testifying on Thursday.
This report from the ICC Kenya Monitor summarizes hearings of the Ruto and Sang trial from Wednesday, 29 January 2014.
Read more at The Hague Trials Kenya.