RTLM ghost looms over Kenya

02 February 2011 by Linawati Sidarto

Radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang was the only non-politician among the six Kenyans named by the International Criminal Court in December as the alleged masterminds of the country’s post-election violence. Experts, however, warn against comparisons between Kenya’s Kass FM and Rwanda’s notorious RTLM.

In his long awaited announcement, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo described Sang as “a prominent member of the community, due to his position as a broadcaster on the most popular vernacular radio station, Kass FM.” Ocampo accused him of crimes against humanity in the mass violence following Kenya’s elections in December 2007, which left 1,300 people dead and more than 300,000 displaced. “Sang used coded language disseminated through radio broadcasts to help coordinate the attacks,” Ocampo said.

Kass FM is among Kenya’s many vernacular radio stations, broadcasting in Kalenjin, one of the dozens of languages spoken in the country. It boasts to be the leading radio station in the Rift Valley region - a hot spot during the post-election violence - with five million daily listeners. Most Kalenjins are supporters of the Orange Democratic Party, which contested the outcome of the elections won by rival Party of National Unity.

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