Tuesday, June 30, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
June 30, 2009

I have written about this subject before. I have no problem having a go at it again. I probably will do so again in the near future until Kofi Annan becomes decisive enough to do the only sensible thing; hand over the envelop containing suspects of the 2008 massacres to the Hague.

However, while we await Annan’s latest deadline, there is a curious development within the ODM ranks. Led by William Ruto, a group seems obsessed with The Hague trial as opposed to a locally constituted Tribunal. They are slowly but carefully spinning the story that if a local court was set up here, the influential beneficiaries of the post election violence now holding top positions in the government will derail it.

I may be wrong but my take on this is that William Ruto is a member of the government holding a top position in the current cabinet. He cannot today say he never benefitted from the post election chaos. Because of the chaos that followed, Ruto was one of the privileged few that sat at the negotiating table to craft a coalition government.

And like seven other members from both sides of the coalition, he benefitted hugely by being appointed to the cabinet in a very senior position. If this was not a benefit, then I do not know how else Ruto should have benefitted.
Of the eight members of the national accord team, only Martha Karua is now out of the cabinet by choice after falling out with PNU operatives. The rest are comfortably settled in the government and are more or less wielding a lot of power and influence.

Could Ruto be furthering an argument that the only people who benefitted after the chaos were Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga? Surely as for Kibaki, he was already sworn in a president for a second term as the war was raging in Rift Valley and other parts of the country. He never gained anything more as a result of the National Accord.

That leaves only Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi who were subsequently appointed as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister from the ODM side as the possible beneficiaries in Ruto’s mind. Again this depends on Ruto’s interpretation of posts such as the ones he, Sally Kosgey and 20 other ODM MPs received.

William Ruto may have been a very popular regional leader n the Rift Valley in the run up to the elections. He may have been instrumental in getting votes for the ODM. But it may be misleading if not overrating his role in the 2007 because he was not the only major player in the province. He may have been the most vocal politician to champion the anti- Moi campaign but he certainly was not the only player.

It would be a travesty of justice, a misrepresentation of facts to downplay the crucial roles that were played by Sally Kosgey, Musa Sirma, Henry Kosgey, Kipkalias Kones and William Ole Ntimama in the entire Rift Valley.

What is intriguing is that nobody has confessed to reading the contents of the envelop, let alone openly accuse Ruto of being the mastermind of the post poll chaos. Yet, he is so buy exonerating himself left and right for the past one and a half years. Even as the likes of Uhuru have tended to play it down, Ruto never misses an opportunity to blame others for the chaos. He is ready to blame everybody except William Ruto.

The truth is the evidence that Justice Waki gathered is not sufficient to convict anybody. The report is very clear on the process. More and thorough investigations will have to be conducted before arrests are made. These investigations will have to be carried out by foreign investigators to ensure fairness for all parties concerned. During these investigations, more names will probably be added to Prosecutor Ocarpo’s list while some names in the current list may be dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.

It is at this investigation stage that William Ruto, Ababu Namwamba and others that seem to know much, that seem to have gathered enough evidence against the beneficiaries of the Coalition government will be free to spill the beans as they have been reported to be threatening.

Since they seem to know who instigated the Kibera and Kisumu riots, they should feel obliged to record their statements and volunteer to be prosecution witnesses when Ocarpo lands in town.

The way I understand it is simple: We want The Hague or a local Tribunal to deal with impunity cases that have dogged us for almost two decades now. In setting up a tribunal or sending suspects to The Hague, let us agree that anybody found to have been sufficiently involved in planning and executing the violence that caused the lives of innocent Kenyans should never be spared. If in the end we find that Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto or George Saito was involved, we will pray that the law takes its cause.

This is the reason Ruto’s current panic is premature and misplaced.