Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and his Co-accused Joshua arap Sang took their places in the courtroom before the judges arrived both appearing relaxed and in good moods. Ruto and Sang are charged with orchestrating the post-election violence that rocked Kenya in 2007/2008. The trials have now officially begun.
The prosecution took its turn to present their opening statement in which they portrayed the alleged crimes as not just random and spontaneous acts of brutality but as a carefully planned and executed plan of violence with Ruto’s ultimate goal being to seize political power for himself and his party in the event they could not do so via the ballot box.
What is important in these proceedings is the fact that propaganda time is over and time to deal with facts has finally arrived. It should be pointed out that Ruto’s lawyers had prior to the trials warmed up to the ODM brass and looking at the teams opening statement, it looks like they have settled on throwing away the propaganda that we heard on the campaign trail and are sticking to the facts as they stand. I think with this new strategy, Ruto is bound to clear his name. One thing about a court room is that propaganda doesn’t fly. It is the place where facts overwhelm feelings and opinions. It is interesting that after blaming Raila Odinga for his woes at the Hague, Ruto has publicly brought Raila as his first witness via video. It was powerful to have the court room watch Raila Odinga’s call for peaceful Mass Action de-banking the widespread propaganda that ODM had called for Violence.
It now appears that the way out for Ruto would be to embrace his former party and denounce his political speeches from the last two years. Ruto now has to embrace the truth and clear his former party and boss from the plethora of propaganda that he and his new detractors TNA spewed. It is time for Ruto to accept that PEV in 2008 was spontaneous and he is innocent. It is not time for him to antagonize ODM on the contrary, it is time for him to call out PNU. It will now be evidently clear that unlike what was said on the campaign trail, the real responsibility for Ruto landing in ICC is not ODM but PNU. His lawyers will have to bring out the facts and point at the real enemies of Ruto. It will no longer be a tirade towards ODM but an embrace of ODM.
Finally some truth will be shed and hopefully, the truth will set Ruto free. Looking at Ruto in court, one could sense a man who was getting comfortable with himself, the truth was beginning to come out and his soul was opening up. The time for reckoning is here. He has finally embraced Henry Kosgey’s line of defense. PEV were spontaneous acts and ODM did not call for violence but peaceful mass action. If Ruto uses this approach as a line of defense, then I do not see how he gets convicted. The trials have begun, let us see how they develop and come to an end.