A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) Joshua arap Sang called on people from his village to block roads as others were doing elsewhere after the results of the presidential election had been announced on December 30, 2007.
On Monday, Witness 658 said that Sang made the call while on air at Kass FM, a Kalenjin language radio station where he was the star presenter. He said Sang’s village is called Kipkege. The witness is testifying in the ICC trial of Sang and Deputy President William Samoei Ruto. Both men have been charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the violence that followed the December 2007 election.
Ruto had been in court on Thursday and Friday last week, but he was not present today. His lead lawyer, Karim Khan, said Ruto had been excused and would return to court later in the week.
The witness said that a day after the presidential results were declared, Sang announced there would be a fundraising event for the youth that day, December 31. He said the event was to be held in Ziwa. The town is about 37 kilometers north of Eldoret.
He said Sang did not give any other details about the fundraising event, or harambee, as they are commonly called in Kenya, but he believed it was connected to the violence that had started in the country at the time. The witness said that just hours after the presidential results were announced Kalenjin and Luo youth were burning tires in Eldoret and war cries filled the air. He said the Kalenjin and Luo youths were supporters of Raila Odinga who had been declared the loser in the elections.
Witness 658 was asked to give more details about the war cries. He said they were only made by women in Kalenjin culture and the words they repeated were kako bok, which he translated to mean, “We are being attacked.”
In the afternoon, the witness said he went to the fundraising event and on the way there he saw a truck carrying about 300 young men armed with bows and arrows. He said the truck’s licence plates were concealed with paper. He said the name and address of the owner of the truck, which in Kenya is normally displayed on driver’s door, was also concealed with paper. The witness said he also saw another truck coming from the opposite direction and there were also young men in it. He estimated they were as many as 300.
Witness 658 will continue testifying on Tuesday.