A Mombasa court has Thursday freed Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa on a Sh500,000 cash bail or Sh1 million bond.
Ms Jumwa, who was arrested alongside four others in the wee hours of Wednesday, spent the night in detention over Ganda Ward by-election chaos that left one person dead.
Senior Resident Magistrate Vincent Okello dismissed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP’s) request to detain the MP and her bodyguard Geoffrey Okuto for 21 days.
The magistrate said police should only arrest suspects after obtaining sufficient evidence to press charges, and not apprehend them then ask for more time to continue holding the accused persons.
Detectives are investigating the MP and her bodyguard over the fatal shooting of Ngumbao Jola, an uncle to the ODM candidate in the Ganda Ward poll, Mr Reuben Mwambize Katana.
The by-election is underway Thursday.
Jola was shot dead in Mshongaleni Pendukiani, Malindi in Kilifi County when chaos erupted after the lawmaker and her aides stormed his nephew's home on Tuesday where Mr Katana was holding a meeting with his supporters.
Several others were injured include police officers.
Also present during the melee was Malindi Sub-County Deputy Commander Solomon Kosgey.
While seeking orders to detain the two accused for three weeks, Senior Assistant DPP Alloys Kemo expressed fears that the suspects' lives could be in danger as locals were angry following the death of Jola.
“Detectives have gathered credible intelligence reports that the ground within Malindi Constituency is tense and volatile as part of the population would wish to avenge the death of Ngumbao,” he told the court.
He added that the decision to move the two to Port Police Station in Mombasa was taken after a huge crowd gathered at the Malindi Police Station where they were being held.
But MP Jumwa's team of four lawyers led by Jared Magolo and Gikandi Ngibuini argued that the prosecution had not provided compelling reasons to keep the suspects in custody.
“The DPP has not corroborated the details of the police affidavit with a charge sheet or any other evidence to suggest that the MP is confrontational and has been convicted for the offence of assault or incitement to violence. The content of the police affidavit are mere allegations and are baseless,” Mr Ngibuini said.
The lawyer said Ms Jumwa is the chief election agent of an independent candidate in the Thursday by-election and that it would greatly prejudice the aspirant should the MP fail to show up if she is locked up.
“The respondent is an MP, she cannot run away from her responsibilities. Her right to vote should not be violated based on allegations which have not been proved. Some people may be against the lawmaker because of the tone of her voice. We submit that you dismiss the state’s application and grant the respondent cash bail,” Mr Ngibuini said.
Mr Magolo added that the prosecution had failed to prove how her release would affect the investigations.
“There is no compelling reason to make the court allow continued detention of the respondents. The prosecution's case is hopeless, further, it has not been demonstrated how their detention will assist in the investigations,” he said.
“The application is crying for dismissal. It does not disclose any offence as required by law. We urge the court not to allow those who want Ms Jumwa out of the way before the mini-poll to achieve their ill motives,” added Mr Magolo.
Senior Resident Magistrate Mr Okello has directed the police to summon the suspects and arraign them for plea taking once they have obtained sufficient evidence.
“In the interest of justice, the application dated October 16, 2017 is disallowed. The police are, however, at liberty to charge the respondents once they obtain sufficient evidence,” Mr Okello said.
The magistrate said the police have no authority to arrest and detain people for more than 24 hours without pressing charges against them.
The court has directed that the two respondents to report to DCIO Malindi on October 22, and also assist the police with investigations.