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Ndicho refuses to sign peace pledge

Tuesday May 16 2000

By NATION Correspondent

Juja MP Stephen Ndicho yesterday declined to sign a peace bond in connection with his remarks on land ownership.

The Thika court had told the MP that he was required to execute the bond with sureties for good behaviour.

The prosecution had alleged that it had information that Mr Ndicho was calling on landless people to invade farms owned by foreigners.

Such farms, the prosecution said, are owned by multinationals like Del Monte, Kakuzi and Socfinaf, a French Consortium with coffee estates in Thika and Kiambu districts.

The police said Mr Ndicho's remarks were likely to cause a breach of the peace and disturb the public.

Mr Ndicho, however, told the court that he was not prepared to sign the bond as this would curtail his freedom of expression.

"This amounts to intimidation and infringement of my human and constitutional right of freedom of expression," he said.

The MP, who was not represented, asked the court to dismiss an application by the prosecution requiring the court to compel him to execute the bond.

Mr Ndicho accused the police of "double standards by arresting me alone while I was merely expressing my opinion just like (Cabinet) Minister Shariff Nassir and others".

The MP, who was arrested on Sunday, was released on Sh50,000 bond with a surety in the same amount. Hearing will be on May 31.

Mr Ndicho weeks after launching a campaign to have land-less people repossess land owned by foreigners.