Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has faulted Jubilee leaders for linking him with the crime against humanity charges facing Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Raila reiterated he didn’t play a role in establishing charges against any one. The CORD leader said some leaders in the ruling coalition were peddling lies that he and other ODM leaders sold out Ruto to the ICC. “How can I take my own people to be charged in a foreign court? You know who the witnesses against Ruto are and for the record, I was against those who pushed for the trial of post-election violence suspects outside Kenya,” he said.
Raila questioned the motives of those linking him to Ruto’s woes at the ICC. He said Ruto and co-accused Joshua Sang were his supporters in the 2007 General Election. He said those mentioning his name were the same who opposed formation of a local tribunal, giving way for the ICC. The CORD leader spoke in Kapchelang’a in Marakwet West constituency during the burial of Dr Benjamin Kipkorir who served as the Executive Chairman of the Kenya Commercial Bank.
Kipkorir also served as an envoy to the US. Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who was present, asked Raila to offer moral support to Ruto since it is ODM he was campaigning for during the 2007 polls that led to violence. “The former Prime Minister should show full commitment to helping Ruto overcome his ICC case through prayer and moral support.
We expect ODM to write to the ICC asking the court to terminate the case,” said Murkomen. The senator, who spoke after Raila, said it was only through open show of support that would show the former premier was fully committed to supporting Ruto’s acquittal.
But Raila, who paid tribute to Dr Kipkorir as a great academician and patriot, later asked the master of ceremony David Kimaiyo for another chance to “clarify” an issue. Not me “Ukweli ukidhihiri uwongo hujitenga (when the truth prevails, lies separate).
Let it be clear that I was not involved in any way in the case against Ruto,” said Raila. He asked his critics to revisit the Hansard report of Parliament to confirm he championed for the formation of a local tribunal to handle cases related to post-election violence.
Efforts to form a tribunal were met by the infamous declaration that “don’t be vague, lets go to The Hague.” Raila, who was accompanied by his elder brother and nominated MP Oburu Oginga, said he is still committed to working with the Kalenjin community despite claims that he ordered evictions from the Mau Forest. “You were told I was responsible for chasing people out of Mau Forest. But now, I am seeing people being removed from the same forest and their houses torched. Is it Raila who is burning families’ property? he posed. Noting that CORD relishes a reunion with the Rift Valley community, Oburu said doors of working together have not been shut now or in the future.
The ODM leader also reiterated his call for national dialogue with the Jubilee administration, citing the need to stem rising insecurity and conflicts amongst communities.
“There is need for peace in Kenya and an immediate end to reckless killings of citizens. We as leaders need to find solutions. This is achievable if we open up for talks rather than chest thumping and taking no responsibility for our mistakes,” he added.
Among those who attended the burial were Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, Trans Nzoia Deputy Governor Stanley Kenei, MPs Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East), William Kisang (Marakwet West) Oscar Sudi (Kapsaret), Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren) and Elgeyo Marakwet Women Representative Susan Chebet among others.