Mwingi Central MP Gideon Mulyungi has been charged in a Kitui court with three counts of hate speech and offensive conduct in public.
The MP on Monday denied the three charges before Kitui Chief Magistrate Maryanne Murage and was released on a cash bail of Sh200,000.
Mr Mulyungi faces one charge of offensive conduct contrary to Section 94 of the Penal code, where former Kitui Senator David Musila is listed as a complainant.
He also faces two charges of hate speech contrary to Section 13 of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, where the MP allegedly used offensive and inciting remarks against President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Kikuyu community last week.
The first charge stated that on October 23 at Kalundu open air market in Kitui Township, Kitui County, while addressing a National Super Alliance (Nasa) gathering, he used abusive words against Mr Musila.
The second and third hate speech counts stated that in the same rally he uttered insulting words against the President and his community, allegedly intended to stir up ethnic hatred between members of the Kamba and Kikuyu ethnic groups in Kitui County.
While seeking the MP’s release on bond, his lawyer Daniel Maanzo told the court that Mr Mulyungi had been a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and he oversaw the refurbishment of law courts across the country and therefore he should be given favourable bail terms.
Mr Maanzo, who is the MP for Makueni Constituency, was cut short by the magistrate when he sought to challenge the charges arguing the interpretation of the charges as framed were subjective.
Ms Murage rejected the argument, saying the accused will have an opportunity to explain that during the hearing of the case.
Prosecution led by state counsel Judith Kivuti did not object to the MP’s release on bond but urged the court to consider the gravity of the charges.
The magistrate set the hearing of the case for November 23.
Mr Mulyungi is a first-time MP and an architect by training, who was Public Works PS during President Mwai Kibaki’s regime.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and Wiper MPs Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), Paul Nzengu (Mwingi North and Charles Nguna (Mwingi West) and scores of their supporters were in court as the MP took plea.