Big Celebrations In Thika Streets As News Of Ruto's Acquittal Are Announced.


Carnival mood engulfed Thika Town, a stronghold of President Uhuru Kenyatta after the International Criminal Court (ICC) declared that DP William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang have no case to answer.


Immediately after the announcement, jubilant supporters poured into the streets with song and dance across the town streets on Tuesday evening to celebrate the news of Ruto and Sang’s acquittal.


Bodaboda riders and skaters went round the town hooting and screaming in jubilation. They sang songs to praise the deputy president and the government of Uhuru Kenyatta. All through, they were cheered on by the wananchi wherever they passed with chants of “Ni Ngai! Ni maombi Si Uchawi! Ruto tuko Pamoja!”


There was traffic gridlock on Kenyatta Highway exit at Gatitu caused by the riders who were waving twigs and blowing vuvuzelas as they moved towards Witeithie and Juja centres. Some motorists were were forced to join the celebrations though there were no acts of lawlessness reported.


"We are very happy today that this case is behind us now. It is now time the president and his deputy grabbed the steering wheel and drive this nation forward without thinking of unwarranted distractions," said Mary Mwangi, a Thika resident who was celebrating along the streets.


Peter Kimani, a hawker in Thika, said: “We are thankful to God, as both our president and his deputy are now free.”


In a written statement, judges declared a mistrial in the Kenyans' case due to "'troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling", after the Ruto-Sang defence's submitted a 'no case to answer' motion– whether there was enough evidence for the trial to continue – was accepted.


The two have been discharged without prejudice to the assumption of their innocence, ending a tortuous case that showed the limits of the court’s power.


The collapse of the case, which has been seen as a test of the court’s ability to pursue charges against sitting leaders, came after the prosecution could not show it had sufficient evidence to proceed.


Chief Registrar Helena Vukasinovic said Trial Chamber judges found no incriminating evidence to sustain the cases against the two.


Judge Eboe Esuji said in a statement that proceedings were declared a mistrial "due to a troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling".


"The charges are hereby vacated and the accused are discharged from the process without prejudice to their presumption of innocence or the prosecutor’s right to re-prosecute at a later time."


Osuji said victims should be invited to express their views and concerns for the sake of assistance and reparation.


Victims' lawyer Wilfred Nderitu said the decision by the Trial Chamber, following a process that began six years ago, should be respected.


The collapse of the case against Ruto and his co-accused follows that last year of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

  
Ruto and Sang had been facing crimes against humanity the 2007/8 post-election violence that left 1,200 dead and at least 600,000 displaced.
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