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Jubilee, Cord MPs charged with incitement to violence

Friday June 17 2016

Supporters of the eight MPs facing incitement charges outside Milimani Law Courts on June 17, 2016 where the leaders were being charged. PHOTO | MAUREEN KAKAH | NATION MEDIIA GROUP

Supporters of the eight MPs facing incitement charges outside the Milimani Law Courts, where the leaders were being charged on June 17, 2016. PHOTO | MAUREEN KAKAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MAUREEN KAKAH
By MAUREEN KAKAH
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VINCENT AGOYA
By VINCENT AGOYA
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JOHN NGIRACHU
By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Eight Jubilee and Cord MPs accused of hate speech were on Friday morning charged with incitement to violence.

The lawmakers could be slapped with additional and more concrete charges, according to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has said.

NCIC chairman Francis ole Kaparo has said the body would also “vehemently” oppose bail for the MPs, who have been in custody since Tuesday. A magistrate and a judge declined to grant them bail.

The High Court on Thursday upheld the lower court’s decision to detain them.

The court said it had reached the verdict after considering the public interest.

The judge said the detention of the lawmakers was aimed at helping the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to protect the public and so the MPs and senator needed “to pay the small price”.

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The court said it was necessary to detain the leaders for a limited time to allow police to complete investigations.

According to the court, the lawmakers’ lawyers and the DPP concurred that the detainees were being looked after properly after their plight was brought to the attention of the court on Wednesday.

Lawyers John Khaminwa and Harun Ndumbi had pleaded with the court to free the leaders, saying some of them needed medical attention.

The eight accused are Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama and MPs Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi woman rep), Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), Florence Mutua (Busia woman rep), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati).

“No charges have been drafted by the DCI and the DPP. The police only made an application. You will see the charges tomorrow,” said NCIC senior legal officer Kyalo Mwengi.

Mr Kaparo told the joint Committee on National Cohesion that the NCIC now had the support of the DCI, DPP and Inspector-General of police.

"I have heard Jubilee saying we are against their members. That most of the MPs are from Jubilee. I have heard the same from Cord. When I hear that, I know we are fine because both are attacking us," he said.

DENIED ACCESS

There was drama outside the courts as leaders, including Cord principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, Senators Anyang' Nyong'o (Kisumu) and Hassan Omar (Mombasa), MP Simba Arati, journalists and the public were denied access.

However, the politicians were later allowed to get in.

Supporters of the politicians could be seen moving into small groups demanding that the detained leaders be released.

Inside the courtroom, Mr Ngunjiri, the Bahati MP, was seen fidgeting before he fainted. Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale rushed and unbuttoned the MP’s shirt before he was moved out for first aid.

Mr Ngunjiri was charged with incitement and ethnic contempt. He denied calling for the eviction of members of a certain community from the cosmopolitan county.

Leaders from the Jubilee side looked dejected as no politician from their coalition came to the court to show solidarity with them.

Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama was charged with incitement to violence resulting from utterances he made in September 2015.

His lawyer, James Orengo, argued that Mr Muthama had been charged wrongly and that he was held on the strength of an affidavit concerning remarks made at a press conference recently.