NAIROBI, Kenya – A government-sponsored commission in Kenya has accused a number of top-level officials of inciting and funding ethnic violence in the country that left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced following disputed elections late last year.
The report, which was embargoed by a separate government commission, was leaked to FOXNews.com. It makes allegations against 219 persons, including many government ministers.
Their names are included in the "Schedule of Alleged Perpetrators," a 54-page appendix to the report of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, or KNCHR, on violence related to the country’s December 2007 elections.
Most of the accused are supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement, or ODM, whose leader, Raila Odinga, nonetheless supported the establishment of a tribunal to try those politicians responsible for inciting the post-election violence. Odinga, who is not accused, belongs to the Luo tribe.
In the run-up to the elections, the ODM forged a multitribal alliance against the Kikuyu, who have been regarded as economically and politically powerful since the 1960s. In last December’s elections, the Kikuyu mainly supported the incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, whose Party of National Unity was thought by many Kenyans and outside observers to have rigged the polls.
Among those named in the KNCHR report is William Ruto, the ODM agriculture minister, who allegedly encouraged a crowd to "uproot the weeds" and expel Kikuyu from the fertile Rift Valley. Also named is Najib Balala, who allegedly paid 500 shillings (about $8) each to ODM-supporting youths who attacked Kikuyu-owned businesses in the Muslim coastal cities of Mombasa and Kilifi.
The others include Henry and Sally Kosgey, both ODM officials, who reportedly attended meetings in the hillsides of Luo land where ethnic violence was planned, and Uhuru Kenyatta, the Amherst-educated son of Kenya’s founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, who allegedly planned and financed reprisals against ODM members.
The KNCHR report recommends establishing a tribunal before which the accused would be tried. If a tribunal is not established, it recommends referring the cases to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, to which Kenya is a signatory. Many ministers belonging to ODM, especially those implicated in the commission’s report, have objected to the implementation of a tribunal.
"They did something wrong to the country, and they should stand trial," said Eunice, a Kikuyu living in the mostly Luo city of Kisumu. She declined to give her last name for fear of repercussions because of her ethnicity.
The ethnic strife took one of Africa’s most-developed countries by surprise in January and February of this year, as roving gangs armed with machetes and clubs fought riot police and set fire to churches, homes and businesses.