Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Court throws out MPs' incitement case

PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU Turkana Central MP David Ekwe Ethuro (left) and his Turkana South counterpart Josephat Koli Nanok after they refused to plead to incitement charges on November 19, 2012. A court dismissed the case against the two legislators November 21, 2012.

PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU Turkana Central MP David Ekwe Ethuro (left) and his Turkana South counterpart Josephat Koli Nanok after they refused to plead to incitement charges on November 19, 2012. A court dismissed the case against the two legislators November 21, 2012.   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION Reporter

A court has dismissed an incitement case against two Members of Parliament.

Chief magistrate Waweru Kiarie ruled that the charges preferred against Turkana South MP

Josphat Nanok and his Turkana Central counterpart David Ekwe Ethuro were defective.

On Monday, the two legislators were charged with incitement to violence over the Baragoi killings in which more than 40 policemen died.

However, Mr Nanok and Mr Ethuro did not plead to the charge, claiming it was a violation of their rights and an abuse of the judicial system.

Through lawyers Katwa Kigen and Jotham Arwa, the legislators claimed that the charges raised constitutional issues and asked the magistrate to suspend the plea and refer the matter to the High Court for interpretation.

They termed the proposed charges as invalid, arguing that it was against the doctrine of separation of powers between Parliament and other State organs.

House privilege

The words contained in the charge sheet, they added, were also not clear.

“Parliamentary privileges are meant to facilitate delivery of services to people who elected them and who look up to them to speak on their behalf. You cannot criminally charge MPs for words uttered within the precinct of Parliament,” said Mr Kigen.

According to the charge sheet, Mr Nanok and Mr Ethuro allegedly uttered words implying that it was desirable to bring death or physical injuries to police officers in Suguta Valley in Turkana County.

They allegedly uttered the words on November 15 within Parliament buildings in Nairobi “jointly with others not before court.”

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