Nairobi — The third prosecution witness against Deputy President William Ruto has told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that there were highly placed officials within the Party of National Unity (PNU) and in the government who were bent on incriminating Ruto before the Waki Commission over the 2007-8 post election violence, whether he was culpable or not.
The witness told Trial Chamber V (a) during cross-examination by one of Ruto's lawyers Shyamala Alagendra on Wednesday that she had heard that the officials wanted to blame Ruto for the violence irrespective of the truth.
The witness, only identified as P0189, confirmed the defence observations to the judges revealing that Ruto was to be blamed by the officials for the events that transpired in the North Rift during the 2007-8 bloodshed.
"Did you hear that the aim of some PNU officials and some government officials was to blame Mr Ruto for the violence before the Waki Commission?" asked Alagendra.
"Yes," responded the witness.
"And they wanted to blame Mr Ruto regardless of the truth. I'm right, aren't I?" asked the lawyer.
"Yes," the witness answered.
"And what they wanted was to say that William Ruto was responsible for that post election violence in North Rift Valley. I'm right, aren't I?" observed Alagendra.
"Yes," confirmed the witness again.
Alagendra further read out the names of eight individuals alleged to have been working for the PNU to gather evidence surrounding the post election violence which they are said to have presented to the Waki Commission.
The witness however denied knowledge that these specific individuals had been collecting such information for the Waki Commission.
"Are you aware that there was a group of individuals comprising, Stephen Tarus, Martha Karua, Mutea Iringo, Nancy Gitau, Stephen Mugwira, Abraham Limo, William Rono and Bethuel Ruto that were working together to identify witnesses and collect information to present to the Waki Commission?" asked Alagendra.
"No," said the witness.
She had earlier told the court that she knew who some of those individuals were and the various roles they played for PNU.
At this time in 2008 Karua was the Minister of Justice while Iringo was an Under Secretary for Internal Security. Gitau was the Director of Political Affairs in the Office of the President.
The witness said that she knew who Karua was but did not know who Iringo and Gitau were.
She however confirmed that she knew Limo, Rono, Ruto (Bethuel) and Tarus.
The witness at the same time told the court that she was not aware that Iringo and Gitau placed any witnesses on witness protection and provided their upkeep as stated by Alagendra.
The witness had in the course of her testimony claimed that Ruto was booed and called a murderer in April 2008, while trying to address a crowd of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Eldoret Showground.
She explained that the IDPs even threw things at Ruto but Ruto's lawyer refuted these claims.
The lawyer played video recordings in the court showing that it was former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who was jeered by the crowd.
However, the video clip showed events that transpired at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium and not at the showground, where Ruto and other government officials had first met before heading to the stadium.
The witness further stuck to her guns maintaining that she was at the showground and saw Ruto being booed.
She was also asked whether her claim that Ruto was jeered was reported by any media house but the witness said that she did not have a medium of reading or watching such reports.
"You told the court that you didn't recall if anyone came with Mr Ruto. Do you remember?" asked Alagendra.
"Yes," responded the witness.
"Correct me if I'm wrong that the reason you do not know is because you were not there and you got that information from others. Is that correct?" enquired Ruto's lawyer.
"No," said the witness.
The witness had earlier told the court about an incident in Kisii in September 2007 where Ruto was allegedly shot in the knee by an arrow after PNU supporters attacked him and other ODM leaders.
According to video recordings played by Ruto's defence team, this attack took place in the presence of senior government officials at the time and was allegedly fanned by a former minister.
The witness however said that she only learnt of the attack through her Warembo na Kibaki group members.
She also said that she was not aware that Ruto had been hospitalised as a result of his knee injury, as stated by Alagendra.
The witness further revealed to the court that youths were paid about Sh500 to attend PNU meetings.
Meanwhile, the fourth ICC witness on Wednesday afternoon took to the stand to give evidence in the case against Ruto and his co-accused Sang.
The witness identified as P0376 who shortly after introduction went into a private session told the court that Kikuyus and Kalenjins used derogatory words to refer to each other just before the 2007 General Election.
"The Kalenjin people when the election was about to (take place), used to refer to Kikuyus as madoadoa and the Kikuyus used to refer to Kalenjins as Gachurie," she recalled.
The witness also appeared under the same protective measures as the previous three prosecution witness who already testified before the court with their voices distorted, pixelated images and limited private sessions.
ICC Outreach Coordinator, Maria Kamara indicated that the Prosecution intends to call about 30 crime based, linkage and expert witnesses.
Once the prosecution concludes presentation of his case using its witnesses, the defence teams of Ruto and Sang will be next to also make their case by also presenting their witnesses.