Defense for Ruto Challenges Witness 800 on Earlier Testimony

Deputy President William Samoei Ruto’s lawyer challenged a witness on his recollection of statements Ruto made during the 2005 constitutional referendum and on the eve of voting day in the December 2007 elections.

Shyamala Alagendra also questioned Witness 800 in some detail on Monday about his relationship with a particular investigator working for the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) Office of the Prosecutor, who was not named in open session.

The trial of Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang has been ongoing since September last year. Both Ruto and Sang are charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the bloodshed the followed the December 2007 elections.

During the mid-morning session Alagendra questioned Witness 800 about his testimony on November 17. The witness testified that during one campaign event of the 2005 referendum, Ruto had said he could still see white mushrooms in the area and they should be uprooted. The witness had said he understood Ruto’s comments to mean the Kikuyus in the area should be expelled because many of the Kikuyus where he lived go to churches where they are required to wear white headscarves or turbans.

On Monday, Alagendra played a video of a church procession of men and women wearing white headscarves or caps. She asked the witness whether he recognized which group the people belonged to. He said the Divine Church. The witness explained that although members of the Divine Church are Kalenjin and Luhya, he understood Ruto to mean only the Kikuyus when he talked of white mushrooms because Kikuyus were expected to vote in favor of the draft constitution in the 2005 referendum. At the time, Ruto was a key member of the Kenyan African National Union political party that was opposed to the draft constitution.

After this testimony, Alagendra corrected the witness and said the people in the video were members of the Africa Israel Church, and the members of this church were mainly Luo and Luhya. Witness 800 said that in his area the members would be predominantly Luhya.

Alagendra took the witness through a report on the referendum campaigns of 2005 by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the Kenya Human Rights Commission that listed individuals the two organizations had determined made speeches that warranted them being charged for incitement under Kenyan laws. The witness noted that Ruto was not named in that list. He also noted that Ruto was not named in a list of individuals whom the two organizations had determined had made statements that amounted to hate speech. Alagendra said that the only list Ruto appeared on was for making gender insensitive speech, constituting derogating women.

Alagendra then began a new line of inquiry, questioning whether the witness was at the Eldoret police station on December 26, 2007 as he said in testimony he gave on November 18. Alagendra said that the defense conceded that Ruto was at the police station on December 26, 2007 and that he addressed the crowd. She challenged Witness 800, however, on whether Ruto told the crowd about doing to the Kikuyu what they did to witches.

She said when Ruto talked to the crowd he sought to calm them down and assured them that the leadership of Orange Democratic Movement party was aware of the rumors of rigging. Witness 800 said that was not all Ruto said. He said Ruto did not speak of witches in Swahili or English, but it is when he addressed the crowd in Kalenjin that he talked of witches.

“Sir, I put it to you that in any language Mr. Ruto did not say the word witches,” said Alagendra.

“It’s wrong,” answered the witness.

Alagendra then showed the witness handwritten notes of a monitor of the Kenya Human Rights Commission who was present that day at the Eldoret police station, which made no mention of Ruto talking of witches. She also showed him a newspaper report of Ruto’s address at the Eldoret police station reflecting the same. Witness 800 stuck to his previous testimony that Ruto spoke of witches.

At the beginning of the day, Alagendra spent the first session asking Witness 800 about the close relationship he had with a particular investigator. She read a series of excerpts from an investigator’s report provided by the prosecution and asked the witness several questions on those excerpts. The witness said he considered the investigator in question a friend as he did all the other investigators he has interacted with.

One of the excerpts Alagendra read out was of an interview the investigator conducted with the witness about 12 days before the Ruto and Sang trial began in September last year. In the excerpt, the investigator expresses his disappointment at the witness having been unreachable a little earlier just as the prosecution is preparing for the opening of the trial. The witness explains in the excerpt that the people he dealt in trying to handle his concerns were too slow to give him feedback, which is why he disappeared. The investigator then explains to him that if that was the case he should have gotten in touch with people at the ICC headquarters because some of the individuals in the field did not have decision making powers.

Following that conversation, the witness’s wife contacted one of the field officers who sent an email on August 30, 2013 to the Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU) informing them that the wife wanted to be given money for rent and sustenance, according to the excerpts Alagendra read. The VWU wrote back that she should not be given anything. The wife’s name was not given in open session.

The report Alagendra read in court noted that when the witness’s wife received the response from the VWU, the witness sent a text message to the investigator he had been dealing with. It read, “Bye bye forever. You have been good to us.” Alagendra asked the witness whether it was on that day, August 30, 2013, that he signed an affidavit to recant his testimony. He said it was not that day but sometime after his conversation with the investigator.

Witness 800 will continue testifying on Tuesday.


  1. Its a known fact that media houses do not report everything that took place in any given event.Moreso they edit news clips as per their company policies.You cannot therefore rely on the news clips to disapprove witness 800 as it is not the gospel truth.

  2. From what I ‘ve read the Human rights notes and press reports do not support the witness’s allegations. Let’s get serious!

  3. I can see some people here do not even know that “news” is also hearsay.Most news we watch,read or listen to is mere hearsay.

    1. Correction sir! Until sometimes in the late 70’s up till today, we have correspondents and stringers to relay or give live coverage of news from the ground- across the globe.

      I prefer you listen to BBC World Service for example.
      Listen to as simple programs as Focus On Africa and get to learn of reporters some of whom could be known to you personally.

      What is projected as hearsay in this particular icc witness is what he is presenting as relayed by third parties ‘I heard from those who attended…’ which amounts to grapevine information.

  4. Witness 800 is only testifying to what he saw and witnessed.He is not bound by what the media houses reported.

  5. Ha ha ha your wishful thinking and imaginations will not be part and parcel of court records.It will just remain just that i.e wishful thinking.

  6. This Witness No. 800 Claiming That One Can Alter An Inciting Irrespective Of Any Language Infront Of A Police Station Is Not Logical , Because At That Time The Tension Was Still High And National Intelligence Officers Could Be Much Interested To Know Any Word Alledged To Be Said In Kalenjin By Any Speaker. Therefore Its The Witness Own Making And Thinking Of A Coocked Statement Made Without Putting The Proper Ingredients Of Trueth. Lastly The Witness Should Tell Us Who Interpreted For Him Nor Which College Of Interpretation He Attended Untile He Knew That Kikuyus Were Being Reffered To White Mushrooms As He Alledges.

  7. Read between the lines… The OTP presented its case to the pre-trial chamber stating the propaganda was spread in code….

    1) the only “code” that was speculated on was the term madoadoa (spots)… and now this new mushroom story…. no other code has been identified to my knowledge.

    2) the “code” has not been shown as instruction to attack but as propaganda…

    3) the “code” has only been shown as used by other persons not before the ICC…

    4) the “witness” is said to have retracted his statement… therefore, as per an earlier ruling, this testimony is not of direct relevance… how come this witness has not been termed hostile like the others? Is it because he was a friend to the investigator…?

    5) one needs to ask themselves why only one person has this story… not even the investigating arm of the Waki report or KNHR has this report…

    things still don’t add up in this case…..

  8. It is shocking news that one can go this far to project a community in bad light because of his own interest of getting cash and purported good living away from his motherland witnessing none existing events is the most evil that is known to watched in the Hollywood Cinema which are not factual but simple mind go home believing what was in the screen was the truth is what witness 800 wants the world to believe in.

  9. we have been following the proceedings from the word go..and there is no other witness who has alledged that Ruto ultered words that white mushrooms refering to kikuyus .its only witness no.800 who has alledged this un doorable words meaning he is in his on world leaving alot of doubt and the standard of the icc case should be beyond reasonable double there for,the evidance of this witness cannot met the threshold that is required

  10. You cannot judge witness 800 on basis of your imaginations or wishful thinking.The defense team have no legal right to force witness 800 to agree with Human rights commission and Waki commission reports.Moreso most of you do not know what was said in private session and therefore your opinion lack legal basis. The witness is only recaunting events of 2005,2007 and 2008 as per his own understanding and interpretation and not addressing your expectations.As a matter of fact the Human rights commission and Waki commission only gathered information on events prior to P.e.v and during the p.e.v and not after the p.e.v.Cleasing took place after p.e.v.Therefore the same cannot be used as yardstick of measuring what witness is saying as OTP has the legal responsibility of conducting its own investigations.

  11. What the media houses report as “news” is not first hand information but mere “hearsay” including this update we are responding to.Have you not seen the words “BY MALITI”?.

    1. What is in private session is clarification of certain issues whose discussion may provide clue on identity of the witness. So it is merely an extended discourse an our observations are based on that.

      Secondly, be reminded that no one is judging the witness by parameters other than his own utterances and submissions which time and again appear not in harmony/syngcrony with itself.

      You’ve heard him say he was pulling out for favors to recant, because of delayed payment yet he wants us to believe he is giving truthful testimony.

      Thirdly you listened to him confess he had 3 mobile phones, in itself testimony he was not poor by any standards yet he pops up in handouts giving ‘ceremonies’.

      Fourth; he speaks of the accused as using coded language, an inference that secrets were being discussed.
      Yet he gives the venue as a police station, implying that the accused, by divine intervention, was friendly to all officers in there at best or were exclusively non Kalenjin!

      These are some of the reasons other readers opine and rifgtly so, as twisted logic, contrary to your observations.

  12. This is where we go wrong;
    First you cannot map out parameters for what goes on in private session on basis of your imaginations and wishful thinking.As it depends on actual happenings that need to be clarified to required standards and it can take any shape.
    Secondly,it is wrong to judge a witness on basis of his utterances other than the legal requirements and standards.

    Thirdly,its clear that when a witness is under protection unity does not go on with his normal life including earning for his living and this will definitely affect his life style.

    Fourth,coded message must have a code key because is meant to reach certain people or group of people and not for every body.Therefore it can be still be used any where and before any one because unless they have the code key they cannot decode the message.

    Therefore stop substituting reality with your imaginations.

  13. How do you measure his confidence when you have not seen him and when his voice is corrupted?.In fact you do not know him.

  14. Wycliffe, Just a query…on any coded message how do the intended personnel get the intent of message yet no one tells us where they sat or met and came up with codes to encrypt and de crypt messages

  15. Haa haaa haaaa CK,now you are taking this too far.First we do not know how the prosecution side is approaching this case.Each and every witness plays a certain role in accordance with the prosecutors plans .Therefore looking for answers for your imaginations will not help until when the prosecutor will be through with his witnesses.He will then make his submission and everything will come out clearly.

  16. Pamba O, in fact I did not notice your good comment. You are right.
    We do not know how the prosecution is approaching this case.Neither do we know how the case may end up, but I suppose it may end up this way at the curtain fall:
    ‘We saw it written: No Rrrrr No peace. Therefore let Rrrrrrr come forward!’

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