Uhuru Kenyatta's private army

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court used official government reports, including some prepared by the State intelligence agency to build their case that key government officials sponsored crimes against humanity in Rift Valley.

Prosecution lawyer Adesola Adeboyejo said the evidence they had amassed indicated that Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura and Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta built a temporary alliance comprising the police and the Mungiki gang, which unleashed violence on thousands of ODM supporters in Nakuru and Naivasha.

Ms Adeboyejo for the first time named a Mungiki leader, Maina Diambo, as the head of the militant wing of the sect and who is said to have been present at a meeting in Nairobi Club attended by Mr Muthaura and Mr Kenyatta.

Environment minister John Michuki, who held the Internal Security docket at the time, was also prominently drawn into the case after the prosecutors said he attended several meetings where he impressed on Maj-Gen Hussein Ali to instruct the police not to interfere with the Mungiki youth.

Those disclosures emerged when the prosecution began to outline its case against Mr Muthaura, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ali, who have become the highest ranking Kenyan officials to face international justice in the proceedings in The Hague. (READ: It’s decision time for top Kibaki men)

Ms Adeboyejo painted the picture of a team of PNU supporters with the support of State House who were determined to cling to power at all costs.

She spoke of several meetings at various venues, including State House, Blue Post Hotel in Thika, Nairobi Club, Stem Hotel in Nakuru and Bell Inn in Naivasha to plan the attacks.

The goal of these meetings was to terrorise ODM supporters to the extent that they would drop their challenge to the legitimacy of the results announced by the electoral commission.

“The prosecution will rely on the testimony of several witnesses, official government reports and reports of independent human rights groups,” Ms Adeboyejo said.

She cited Mr Kenyatta as the driving force behind this effort, using his alleged links to the Mungiki and his position as leader of Kanu to support Mr Kibaki.

Ms Adeboyejo quoted Prosecution Witness 11 as saying: “There was anxiety at that time (January 2008) because the word was going round that it was very possible that Raila could have won and MPs were urged to meet at State House so that they can come up with a strategy on what we can do next. Uhuru Kenyatta came in and he looked angry.”

The witness went on to claim that Mr Kenyatta handed the sum of Sh3.3 million to each of those present.

Reports by the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) were repeatedly cited to back prosecution claims.

Recruitment and oathing

“The NSIS situation report (in early January 2008),” Ms Adeboyejo said, “states that the Mungiki sect leader Maina Njenga had directed sect coordinators to carry out recruitment and oathing.

Separately sect members had intensified their acquisition of weapons with which they intended to carry out their machinations.

Elsewhere Mungiki leaders had incited Kikuyu youths in Ongata Rongai and Kiserian to come out and defend their kinsmen from being evicted in other parts of the country.”

The prosecution lawyer also cited public information prepared by scholar Peter Kagwanja, which referred to a prayer meeting in 2002 where 10,000 Mungiki youth are said to have vowed to support Mr Kenyatta.

The second day of hearings lacked the fiery exchanges that characterised the first day’s proceedings. (READ: Lawyers shine spotlight on Raila, Kibaki)

The day was reserved for the presentation of the prosecution’s case, a phase of the hearings which presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova cited as “the most important phase” of the proceedings because it is up to the prosecutor to convince the bench that sufficient grounds exist to believe that the suspects sponsored the violence.

Ms Adeboyejo made a determined effort to demonstrate that the trio was responsible for the violence in Naivasha and Nakuru during the two months of mayhem that followed the last elections. (IN PICTURES: Kenya's blood and tears)

She said Mr Ali collaborated with the other two suspects by creating a “free zone” for Mungiki youths to operate in Naivasha and Nakuru.

She said his actions were comparable to the cooperation between the Sudanese army and the Janjaweed militia, which is accused of committing large-scale atrocities in Darfur.

The prosecution fought back against charges that its witnesses could not be relied on.

“The prosecution takes any and all allegations made against its witnesses very seriously including those made by the defence and we would not present them if we do not trust them,” said Ms Adeboyejo.

The prosecution lawyer said the reason they had not offered up their witnesses for interrogation was that the Rome Statute allowed them to use written evidence at the pre-trial stage.

Reiterated evidence

Ms Adeboyejo reiterated the evidence offered by chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the first day, where he charged that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura worked together to create an alliance between the Mungiki and the police.

On Friday, the prosecution team will conclude presentation of its case and will attempt to show an organisational policy existed to carry out the attacks. (READ: Friday Schedule)