Tuesday, November 20, 2012

MPs refuse to take plea in cases

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. They were released on a Sh50,000 bail.

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. They were released on a Sh50,000 bail.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION REPORTER

Two MPs were on Monday charged with incitement to violence, becoming the second set of leaders to be put in the dock over the Baragoi killings in which more than 40 policemen died.

Turkana South MP Josephat Nanok and his Turkana Central counterpart David Ekwe Ethuro appeared before chief magistrate Waweru Kiarie but 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.”

Chief magistrate Waweru Kiarie released the two MPs on a cash bail of Sh50,000 each and will deliver a ruling on whether to refer the matter to the High Court on Wednesday.

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