President Kibaki’s personal statement in defence of Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura was read to the International Criminal Court on Friday as the Civil Service boss’ lawyers started giving their submissions. (Read: Kibaki furious over Ocampo’s evidence)
The President said he agreed to write the statement out of the respect for the ICC and its judges over the charges of murder, rape, persecution and forced evictions which have been brought against a man with whom he works closely on a daily basis.
Mr Muthaura faces charges of crimes against humanity committed in the murderous aftermath of the December 2007 elections sparked after President Kibaki’s victory was disputed by his main rival – and now coalition partner – Mr Raila Odinga.
He appears in court alongside Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and the Maj-Gen Hussein Ali, the Police Commissioner at the time of the violence.
Three other Kenyans have been charged at the ICC over crimes committed in Rift Valley – politicians William Ruto and Henry Kosgey and broadcaster Joshua Sang.
Mr Muthaura’s lead lawyer, Mr Karim Khan, read President Kibaki’s statement in the course of his argument that Mungiki sect members, who have been the focus of the prosecution in tying down the Cabinet Secretary to the charges supported Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his ODM party during the 2007 elections.
President Kibaki said Mr Muthaura was a civil servant who never took part in his political affairs, including campaigns, in the last elections.
Referring to the now infamous meeting of November 26, 2007 at State House, Nairobi, he explained that it was a session with youths supporting his campaign and not Mungiki members as alleged by the prosecution.
“The meeting of November 26, 2007 was a meeting with youths who were supporting my campaigns. Mr Muthaura was present because the meeting was addressing a major policy issue affecting the group. Mr Muthaura does not participate in my political affairs because he is a civil servant. He was not part of my political campaigns,” said the President’s statement.
President Kibaki, with restraint, went ahead to address allegations by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo that the meeting was a session organised by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura to reconcile his campaign with Mungiki sect members.
“Nevertheless, I will answer the question out of respect for the court and the ICC judges. The allegations are inimitable to me and contrary to everything I stand for. I have been opposed to Mungiki since I took over the Office of the President and it is banned. It is important to note that this group was in existence even before I came to power. My stand on this is known everywhere,” said the statement.
ICC prosecutors, while making their submissions, said the State House meeting was used to “formalise” the common plan spearheaded by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura to use Mungiki members to carry out attacks against ODM supporters in Naivasha and Nakuru.
This was in retaliation to the killings in Eldoret and South Rift of members of the Kikuyu community.
On Friday evening, Mr Khan played a video clip of Mr Moreno-Ocampo from an interview he gave to a local TV station stating clearly that he had no evidence that President Kibaki played a role in the post-election chaos.
Mr Muthaura’s lawyer said if the prosecutor had no evidence against President Kibaki, then the same applied to his client.
“The prosecutor says there is nothing (against the President). No evidence and no involvement. The defence says zero evidence against Mr Muthaura. President is zero; Muthaura is zero,” he said.
“Witness 4 for the prosecution is incapable of telling the truth. The prosecution are saying there was no evidence against the President when a witness is saying it is there. The prosecution’s case is incoherent and lacks specificity in the nature the meeting at State House where the President met a group of youths.”
Mr Khan attacked the prosecution’s theory that the State House meeting brought on board Mungiki members to support President Kibaki by claiming that the sect members supported Mr Odinga of ODM.
He played TV news clips which showed Mungiki leader Maina Njenga apparently saying the gang’s members supported Mr Odinga at the last elections.
Additional Reporting by BERNARD NAMUNANE and OLIVER MATHENGE