Special Report: As ICC names suspect Kenyan leaders, records reveal talk of more ethnic cleansing
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected Wednesday to accuse up to six Kenyan leaders of orchestrating the ethnic violence that killed some 1,200 people after Kenya's Dec. 27, 2007 elections.
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Their plan appears explicitly genocidal, aiming to kill or force out all Kikuyus and Luos from what they see as Kalenjin land. And the greatest threat, these Kalenjin elders state in the minutes of their meetings, is for them to lose their strongest political voice in Nairobi: Ruto.Skip to next paragraph
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Prominent community members involved
The Friends of Ruto, according to the minutes and and to eyewitnesses, are prominent members of the community, including former senior military officers, former and current city and county officials, a radio talk show host, and even famous marathon runners.
One parliamentarian is honored by name for “sending 4 witnesses from the South Rift outside the country to South Africa,” a blatant attempt to obstruct the ICC investigation on Ruto’s behalf. “The same should apply with the other witnesses who will cooperate.”
The one man who is missing from the meetings, of course, is Ruto himself, and thus the ICC will have to find other corroborative evidence to show any connection between Ruto and the Friends of Ruto and their violent plans. Speaking to the Financial Times in a March 10 interview, Ruto said, "... my conscience is clear. . . Every activity that is alleged to have been done in terms of planning of violence or financing of violence or whatever it is, those are issues that I never participated in any way.... A fair process will prove the facts."
Secret monthly meetings
The Friends of Ruto met on a monthly basis as recently as March in Eldoret. The meetings were secret, originally held in hotel conference rooms but later held in the private homes of members. Notes were originally forbidden, but when it emerged that there were differences of opinion about what was actually agreed upon, the Friends of Ruto decided to keep official minutes of their meetings.
The documents read almost like an anti-Semitic tract from Nazi Germany, with at least a page devoted to the history of how the Kikuyus used their political and economic power to “steal” the land of the Kalenjin people.
The documents also accuse the Kalenjin people’s own electoral allies in the 2007 elections, the ethnic Luo supporters of Prime Minister Odinga, of betrayal, since Odinga launched investigations this year into Ruto’s role in a major corruption scandal and greenlighted the ICC investigation of Ruto for post-election violence. The investigation forced Ruto to be suspended from his cabinet posting as minister of higher education.
'Massive' recruitment of young fighters
“Immediately there will be a massive and secret recruitment of over 10,000 elite youth from across Rift Valley to help in dealing with these individuals and the Kikuyus who will still be in Rift Valley if the ICC implement their threat to arrest our leaders,” the minutes from a Dec. 20, 2009, meeting read. “If any arrests are effected, Rift Valley should be made ungovernable and difficult for any investigation to take place. We will create a crisis bigger than the one being investigated by ICC.”
“No Kikuyu or any other foreigner’s property will be left standing on our soil ... ,” the Dec. 20 minutes continue.
Their former allies, the ethnic Luos who fought to elect Ruto and Odinga (a Luo), will also be forced out of the Rift Valley, the meeting minutes of Nov. 10, 2009, read.