12 January 2016

Kenya: Rift Valley Governors Accompany Ruto to the Hague

Photo: Daily Nation
Deputy President William Ruto speaks to leaders at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on January 11, 2016 before he left the country for the Hague, Netherlands.

North Rift Jubilee governors have bowed to pressure to show solidarity with Deputy President William Ruto in his case and gone to The Hague, Netherlands.

Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat, who has in the past looked like he was not in good terms with the DP, was among county chiefs who travelled to the Netherlands yesterday.

"The governor is in the delegation accompanying the deputy president to The Hague," said Mr Philip Kipsongok, an official in Mr Lagat's communication office said.

Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos was also on the flight to Amsterdam, while his Uasin Gishu counterpart Jackson Mandago has indicated that he would join Mr Ruto at International Criminal Court.

Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi did not join the entourage but said he was in solidarity with Mr Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang.

"I'm not travelling but that does not mean I don't support the DP and Sang's case to be dispensed urgently for Mr Ruto to focus on development and transform the lives of Kenyans," he said by phone.

He said ICC should be cautious when dealing with the case to enhance cohesion, adding that communities which fought in 2007/8 had buried the hatchet.

There had been perception that some governors were not showing solidarity with Mr Ruto over the cases, but with elections approaching, there appears to be a change of heart.

Jubilee leaders, including lawmakers, who have held countrywide prayer rallies kept questioning the commitment of most governors to the alliance's agenda.

Senators and MPs raised concern that some governors were deliberately snubbing prayer rallies.

They threatened to ensure that governors avoiding the meetings were disciplined.

During a recent prayer rally at Suswa Town in Narok County , National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart Kithure Kindiki led the Jubilee leaders in criticising absent governors.

Nominated Senator Naisula Lesuuda and Mr Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo-Marakwet) and MPs Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) and Ms Soipan Tuya (Narok) called for action against the county bosses.

SUSWA RALLY

Out of the 22 governors elected on Jubilee ticket, only two attended the Suswa rally.

Mr Duale said the absent governors did not send apologies.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and his Samburu counterpart Kasaine Lenolkulal were the two governors at the rally.

Starehe MP Maina Kamanda and Mr Waititu said those not attending the rallies were traitors.

"If they are not with us, we shall fight them," Mr Kamanda said.

Mr Ruto left the country yesterday for the hearings of his trial in The Hague.

Mr Ruto and Mr Sang will be in The Hague for at least four days for oral hearings of their separate "no case to answer" motions which could determine the future of the post-election violence case.

Several MPs and supporters of the two are also expected in The Hague "to give them moral support".

Through the motions, Mr Ruto and Mr Sang are seeking acquittal from the crime against humanity charges and termination of the cases.

In their separate applications, they argue that ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda failed to establish a link between them and the crimes they are charged with.

"A judgment of acquittal is in the interests of justice, be it from the perspective of Mr Ruto or from that of the victims, who should not be led to believe that a conviction could result in this case, or from the standpoint of judicial efficiency and economy," Mr Ruto's lawyer Karim Khan said in the October 26 application.

The defence also accused Ms Bensouda of shifting goalposts by running away from the evidence upon which the case was confirmed in January 2012 to introduce other issues.

More on This

Deputy President Departs for Hague Trial

Deputy President William Ruto on Monday morning left the country for The Hague. Read more »

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