Kikuyu MP Lewis Nguyai who was Uhuru Kenyatta’s witness at the ICC yesterday admitted that he severally met top Mungiki leadership at a Nairobi hotel over the post election violence period. Nguyai told the pretrial chamber that Mungiki leaders had initially wanted him to help them establish a contact between them and top Kikuyu leaders including President Mwai Kibaki and others like George Saitoti, John Michuki and Uhuru.
Nguyai said the leaders who described themselves as the “warriors” of the Kikuyu tribe settled on having a meeting with Uhuru because they thought he (Nguyai) was a close friend of the deputy Prime Minister. They said they had a plan to stop the violence which was affecting the kinsmen in the Rift Valley. “They requested me every time we met who in the leadership I could get to meet them. They said they had plans to stop the violence but when I talked to them, they said they needed money and ammunition to go attack the people who were fighting Kikuyus.”
Nguyai testified that although he met with the Mungiki leaders about seven times in the first half of January 2008, he never established the contact with Uhuru they had requested. He said he also declined their offer that they provide him with security but admitted to giving them small tokens of pocket money on several occasions.
He said the Mungiki leaders told him that they had no means of getting money because their resource mobilization network had been hampered by the post election violence. They told him the Kikuyu community was supported by three pillars— the rich, the leaders and the warriors. “They narrated a story which they told me to try and asked me to verify on my own. They claimed that they had conducted an oathing ceremony for members of the Ninth Parliament at the Village Market,” Nguyai said.
Although he would not remember whether all the meetings took place before or after the Naivasha violence, Nguyai said he remembered an incident where the Mungiki leaders complained that the Naivasha killings were not done in a professional manner and that if it were left to them they would have done a “cleaner job.”
He said one of the Mungiki leaders continued extorting from him by claiming that he had lost several relatives through the violence. The Mungiki leader claimed that he was the one looking after several children whose parents died in the violence. Nguyai said he continued to help the Mungiki leader with money and even helped him take his children to private schools. “When he was unable to pay fees, I called the principal to give him some leeway. He claimed he was unable to get into gainful employment because he was being tracked down,” he said.
Nguyai said two of the Mungiki leaders including the one he had been helping, tried to extort Sh3 million from him after he connected them with the Uhuru’s defence lawyers. He said they claimed they had “a hot envelope and if I did not pay up it was going to explode.” He said the two Mungiki leaders severally sent him text messages which he forwarded to PS Internal Security Francis Kimemia. One of them read: “We un-laid the traps bare for your friend and not even a thank you”.
Nguyai was however taken to task by prosecution’s Adeboye Akingbolahan who wanted to know why he continued to relate with Mungiki even after they had requested money and ammunition to launch attacks. The prosecution also wanted to understand why he never made a formal complaint to the police about the request for ammunition and the extortion threats to the police. Nguyai said he reported to the police on phone and later sent the text messages to the PS Iinternal Security.
Nguyai said Uhuru was instrumental in forestalling attacks of non-Kikuyu residents in predominantly Kikuyu areas. He said it was because of Uhuru’s skills as a peace-maker which he displayed during a pacification rally held in Kikuyu on January 31st, 2008 that he was chosen to lead a series of peace rallies comprising of both PNU and ODM leaders. The leaders included minister Fred Gumo, assistant ministers Richard Onyonka, Peter Kenneth, MP Elias Mbau and chief whip Johnstone Muthama.
Nguyai narrated to the court how both he and Uhuru had successfully staved off a wave of non-Kikuyu killings at Kikuyu town after being tipped off that a large crowd of Kikuyus had assembled and were blocking non-Kikuyu’s from seeking refuge at the police station in Kikuyu town. “The local non-Kikuyu residents were trying to make their way to the police station to take refuge but the Kikuyu crowd had blocked them so that they can attack them. We managed to convince them to back off,” Nguyai said.
He said as Uhuru left for Nairobi, he instructed him to go round the constituency and see to it everything was alright. He said another big crowd at Kenya Agricultural Research Institute headquarters was baying for non-Kikuyu’s blood after being incited up by some people who had smeared themselves with blood and claimed non-Kikuyu’s had mutilated Kikuyu women.
Earlier in the same day when he and Uhuru had peacefully dispersed the heated crowd, Nguyai said he had been to Kinoo, Zambezi and Gitaru where crowds of rowdy young people had gathered and where threatening to attack non-kikuyu’s to revenge the killings in the Rift Valley. Nguyai said he managed to convince them against carrying out the attacks.
He said some of the attacks were incited and recalled an incident on January 30, 2008 when he received a call at midnight from an unknown person who wanted him to go to a meeting with him. “At around 3 am I was told there was a car going around calling people asking people to arise and revenge for Kiambaa killings.”
Explaining a video clip which has been re-played several times for the court and which shows Uhuru addressing a rowdy crowd, Nguyai said it was during one of the peace rallies held at Zambezi and the other leaders fled when the crowd became unruly. “They fled when they saw the crowd leaving me and Uhuru to pacify the crowd,” Nguyai said. Nguyai denied that the fund raising intitiatives that he and Uhuru attended were for arming the Kikuyu youth. He said the funds raised were for assisting the victims of the violence.