A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that in the run-up to the 2007 election, William Samoei Ruto was simply declared the spokesman of the Kalenjin and not the “king” of the community as a previous witness had stated.
Herve Maupeu, who is the 11th witness to testify in the case against Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang, told the ICC on Tuesday that the declaration of Ruto as Kalenjin spokesman was made in area of Eldama Ravine in the Rift Valley region. Maupeu said that more than a dozen members of parliament, a son of former President Daniel arap Moi, and other Kalenjin leaders attended the meeting.
In the lead up to the 2007 election Ruto was the Member of Parliament for the Eldoret North constituency and a key leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Today, he is Kenya’s deputy president.
Maupeu is an associate professor of political science at the University of Pau and the Adour Region, which is located in south-western France. Between 2000 and 2004 he served as deputy director of the French Institute for Research in Africa in Nairobi. The institute is affiliated to the Foreign Affairs Ministry in France. Maupeu is the first in the trial of Ruto and Sang to testify in open court without any protective measures. He is testifying in French.
The prosecution have presented Maupeu as an expert witness. The judges of Trial Chamber V(a) will determine whether he will be admitted as an expert witness after the prosecution and defense have questioned him. The judges will also determine whether to allow Maupeu’s report as an expert to be entered as evidence together with any other supporting documents.
Maupeu told the court that before Ruto was chosen as Kalenjin spokesman, former President Daniel arap Moi occupied that position. Moi was president of Kenya for 24 years between 1978 and 2002. Maupeu said that Moi was chosen as the Kalenjin spokesman in the 1950s. He also said that Moi was one of the people who created the Kalenjin identity out of what are now considered the sub-groups of the Kalenjin ethnic group such as the Nandi, Kipsigis, Marakwet, and Pokot.
Trial lawyer Lucio Garcia asked him whether a figure who fought against the British during the colonial times, Koitalel Samoei, was the king of the Kalenjin. Maupeu said that Samoei was a prophetic figure, but he was not royalty. Maupeu also said that at the time there was no Kalenjin ethnic group, and Samoei was a leader among the Nandi people.
Last month, Witness 356 told the court that Koitalel Samoei was the first figure to be named king of the Kalenjin, and Ruto was following in his footsteps when he was declared “king” in 2007.
Maupeu told the court on Tuesday that elections in Kenya after the return of multi-party politics in 1991 have always been violent. He said that the elections of 1992, 1997, and 2007 were marked by violence that took an ethnic dimension. Maupeu said that there was violence in the 2002 election, which is widely considered to be one of the most peaceful elections the country had. He said that the violence did not take an ethnic dimension in 2002. Maupeu said much of that violence was between rival militia groups and records show that more than 300 people were killed.
Maupeu said that one of the thing that surprised researchers about the violence in 2008 was the size of the militia groups in the Rift Valley. He said that before 2008, the different militia groups in the region only had scores of members. In 2008, the militia groups had thousands of members.
Maupeu continues his testimony on Wednesday.