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Elected leaders fail to uphold the law they swore to protect

Wednesday January 22 2020

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, Gatundu South legislator Moses Kuria and Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa

From left: MPs Babu Owino ( Embakasi East), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) and Aisha Jumwa (Malindi). PHOTOS | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JAMES KAHONGEH
By JAMES KAHONGEH
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When the New Constitution was promulgated in 2010, the hope among Kenyans was that it would promote integrity, responsibility and accountability among State and public officers, and especially elected leaders.

Ten years later, the jury is still out whether Chapter Six of the Constitution has nurtured these values as its drafters had envisioned. 

Despite the provisions of the Constitution on leadership, the number of rogue leaders seems to be on the rise in Kenya.

INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE

More governors, MPs and Members of County Assemblies have been arraigned for various offences in the last five years than at any other time in Kenya’s history.

MPs seem to be the most notorious of the lot, with a number of them facing charges that range from abuse of office, incitement to violence, murder and attempted murders.

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The Nation looks at some of the past and current incidents where national leaders have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria in a Nairobi court
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria in a Nairobi court on April 13, 2017 during the hearing of an incitement to violence case filed against him. PHOTO | FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

1. Moses Kuria, MP, Gatundu South

Charges: hate speech, assault

•Moses Kuria was charged with the offense of using hate speech against ODM leader Raila Odinga and his wife Ida Odinga at the height of the presidential election debacle in 2017.

•On September 5, 2017, at Wangige Market in Kiambu County, he had said “wembe ni ule ule” (we’ll use the same razor), against Odinga, referring to the repeat presidential election.

• He was released on a cash bail of Sh300,000.

• In August 2019, Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi ruled that the MP had no case to answer.

• The prosecution had failed to authenticate the source of the video where Mr Kuria was alleged to have used foul language.

• The woman, Joyce Wanja, accused the MP of hitting her during a debate on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

•Ms Wanja recorded a statement with the police, who later arrested and locked up the MP two weeks ago.

•Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku denied Mr Kuria, who has since been released, an anticipatory bail which he had applied for.

• He is expected in court on Friday to take plea for the charge after Chief Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot deferred the matter.

•Mr Kuria is still out on a cash bail of Sh50000.

• Status: assault case active.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa in a Mombasa Law Court
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa in a Mombasa Law Court on October 17, 2019. Detectives have unearthed scam in which millions from CDF kitty ended up in her bank accounts. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

2. Aisha Jumwa, MP, Malindi

Charges: incitement to violence, assault, electoral offenses and breach of Elections Code of Conduct and abuse of office

• Ms Jumwa was held in October last year in connection with the murder of Ngumbao Jola.

• Jola was caught up in a scuffle between supporters of Jumwa and ODM party where he was shot and killed. 

• The police held the MP for misuse of her firearm, disruption of a rally ahead of Ganda Ward by-election.  

• Senior Mombasa Magistrate Vincent Adet later released Jumwa and her aide Geoffrey Otieno with a cash bail of Sh500,000 each after the duo spent the night in police cells in Mombasa.

• In November last year, detectives were investigating the firebrand MP for abuse of office and conflict of interest.

• Investigators said that the legislator’s family had allegedly benefitted from tenders worth more than Sh500 million from Kilifi County. 

• Status: case ongoing.

Bahati MP Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri appears in a
Bahati MP Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri appears in a Nakuru court on August 16, 2013. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

3. Kimani Ngunjiri, MP, Bahati

• In 2016, the Bahati legislator was captured on video inciting rowdy youths to storm a hotel in Nakuru where Opposition chief Raila Odinga was attending a meeting.

•Mr Ngunjiri asked the youths to ensure members of certain communities to leave Nakuru County and its environs immediately.

• He vowed not to honour summons by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC).

• That same year, he was held for assaulting a traffic policewoman.

•The matter was later settled out of court. 

•This week, the police withdrew his security and cancelled his firearm license.

•This came days after the outspoken MP claimed that some government officers were frustrating Deputy President William Ruto in his official duties.

•Mr Ngunjiri has previously asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to resign after his dalliance with Raila Odinga.

•Status: investigations still active.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino. PHOTO | FILE |
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

4. Babu Owino, MP, MP, Embakasi East

Charge: attempted murder

•Babu Owino is currently in police custody at Industrial Area Police Remand for the attempted murder of Felix Orinda alias DJ Evolve at B Club in Nairobi on Friday morning last week.

•CCTV footage shows the MP pulling the trigger on the DJ who is later dragged out of the club and taken to hospital.

•On Monday, he was charged with attempted murder and pleaded not guilty.

•Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi of Milimani Law Courts on Monday allowed the police to hold the MP for seven more days pending a bail ruling.

• The DJ is still recuperating at Nairobi Hospital after a surgery to remove the bullet earlier this week.

•Calling his troubles an occupational hazard, the MP said this week that a legislator should be prepared to go to jail.

• Status: ongoing

Kimani Ngunjiri, Moses Kuria, Ferdinand
Kimani Ngunjiri, Moses Kuria, Ferdinand Waititu, Timothy Bosire, Junet Mohammed, and Johnstone Muthama at Milimani Court on June 14, 2016 after they were arrested over alleged hate speech and incitement to violence. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In June 2016, Cord and Jubilee MPs Kimani Ngunjiri, Moses Kuria, Ferdinand Waititu, Timothy Bosire, Junet Mohammed, and then Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama were arrested and arraigned in court over alleged hate speech and incitement to violence. The court later dropped the charges against all of them.

Governors too have been involved in criminal activities.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado arraigned at a
Migori Governor Okoth Obado arraigned at a Milimani court on September 25, 2018. He is a suspect in the murder of Sharon Otieno. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

5. Okoth Obado, Governor, Migori County

Charge: murder

• Mr Obado has been charged with Mr Michael Oyamo and Mr Caspal Obiero, his personal assistants, for the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno and her unborn baby in 2018.

• Post-mortem results showed that Ms Otieno, 26, was raped, stabbed eight times and strangled to death before her body was dumped in a thicket near Oyugis. 

• DNA tests showed that the governor was the father of the baby.

• The High Court in Nairobi released the governor on a cash bail of Sh5 million.

• He was, however, barred from leaving the country.

• Status of the case: ongoing.

Garissa Governor Ali Korane.  PHOTO | FILE |
Garissa Governor Ali Korane. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

6. Ali Korane, Governor, Garissa

Charge: attempted murder

• In August 2018, Governor Korane was arrested in connection with the attempted murder of Idris Muktar, former Garissa County finance executive.

• Muktar, was shot at several times while leaving a shopping mall in Kileleshwa in Nairobi in 2018.

• The DCI linked two of the three vehicles used in the crime to the governor.

• Mr Korane spent several days in police custody as detectives investigated the matter.

• The assassin, David Mwai, was caught on camera pulling the trigger. Mwai would later be found dead in mysterious circumstances at Parklands Police Station where he was being held.

• Juliet Charity Njoki and Mohamud Aden were charged with the shooting and later released on a cash bail of Sh500,000 each.

Magwagwa MCA Fred Nyachae Omaiyo at a Nyamira
Magwagwa MCA Fred Nyachae Omaiyo at a Nyamira court on September 9, 2019 when he was charged with defiling a minor. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

7. Fred Omaiyo, MCA, Magwanga Ward, Nyamira County

Charge: defilement

• He denied the charges.

• After spending seven days in police custody, the court released him on a cash bail of Sh300000.

8. Redson Otieno Onyanga, MCA, Ngei Ward, Nairobi County

Charge: dealing with narcotics

• Mr Onyanga was arrested by DCI officers in June 2019 after being linked with heroin trafficking.

•This followed the confiscation of a consignment of heroin at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

•The MCA was later charged for the offence of dealing with narcotics against the law.

Bofu Ward Representative Ahmed Salama at a past
Bofu Ward Representative Ahmed Salama at a past event. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

9. Ahmed Salama, MCA, Bofu Ward, Mombasa County

Charge: dealing with narcotics

• Mr Salama was arrested alongside 17 others and held at Port Police Station for suspicion of trafficking drugs in Mombasa.

• Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni released the MCA from Likoni and his co-accused after they cooperated with the investigators.

• Charges against Salama were later dropped.

• Status: case didn’t proceed.

State officers haven’t been spared either.

The then Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa
The then Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa during an interview at the ministry's offices in Nairobi on November 9, 2018. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

10. Rashid Echesa, former CS, Sports and Culture

Charges: incitement, human trafficking

• During his time as CS, Echesa was being probed by the police after being linked to a human traffic syndicate.

• Eight Pakistani girls, said to be cultural dancers, were impounded at a brothel in Nairobi.

• Police claimed Echesa was involved in sex trafficking.

• The CS was not arrested or charged, but he would later be fired from Cabinet for incompetence.

• In May last year, Mr Echesa was arrested for his alleged role in the Matungu killings in Kakamega County.

• The police linked Mr Echesa with the gang that orchestrated killings that left nearly 30 people dead in the area.

•Mr Echesa, who had been arrested alongside Kakamega County Senator Cleophas Malala, was later released.

• He later sued the state for wrongful arrest. 

•Status: investigations ongoing.