I've had enough; I'll surrender to ICC, journalist Walter Baraza says
Journalist Walter Baraza, wanted by ICC for witness tampering in the collapsed case against DP William Ruto now says he will surrender himself to the Hague.
He looks traumatised and tired.
For five years, the yoke of the International Criminal Court charges that have been hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles have weighed him down quite literally.
But that is not all. The man also claims to be broke.
Quite an irony for a man painted by the ICC as associating with the high and the mighty.
He says his friends believe that he is a millionaire.
Prospective employers only see the ICC tag and yet to others, he is a Jubilee agent.
In any case, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has publicly claimed that Barasa worked so closely with “a circle of officials within the Kenyan administration” to tamper with witnesses in the collapsed case against Deputy President William Ruto.
In fact, he is accused of having offered bribes to the tune of millions of Kenyan shillings for witnesses to withdraw.
“I am not even able to pay rent because nobody is ready to employ me. In Western Kenya where I come from, I am seen as a Jubilee agent,” he said as we settle down for this interview.
ICC unsealed Baraza’s warrant of arrest on October 2, 2013, at a time when the Ruto case was at its apex.
But Baraza immediately launched a battle against the extradition in the Kenyan corridors of justice.
But almost five years after the protracted legal duel Baraza, a trained journalist, now says he is ready to face the Hague judges to clear his name.
He has instructed his three lawyers –Kimbe Mungai, Katwa Kigen and Gatonye Waweru – to hasten the process of his extradition.
The three lawyers were battling in the Court of Appeal against Baraza’s handover to ICC after the High Court ruled that he should be extradited.
“I hope they will take note of the instructions because I have explained to them in detail a number of reasons to the effect of my desire to clear my name,” he stated.
“The only way to redeem myself is to clear my name from the ICC allegations, erase the wild perceptions from the public and start life with the hope that God will grant me and my family more days.”
Baraza’s about-turn may come as a surprise to many. If extradited, he will be in detention at the Hague as he battles to clear his name.
In 2015, ICC declined his request to revoke the arrest warrant and in its place issue summons to appear.