Kenyan MPs face hate speech charge

2016-06-17 21:20
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Nairobi - Eight Kenyan politicians were charged on Friday with hate speech and incitement to violence following public comments and calls to supporters made in recent days.

Three lawmakers from the ruling Jubilee party, and four MPs and a senator from the opposition CORD alliance, denied the charges at Nairobi's Milimani Law Courts.

Police guarded the area around the court where supporters had gathered.

The detained Jubilee MPs, Moses Kuria, Kimani Ngunjiri and Ferdinand Waititu, are loyalists of President Uhuru Kenyatta and members of his Kikuyu tribe.

The CORD politicians are MPs Timothy Bosire, Aisha Jumwa, Junet Mohammed and Florence Mutua, and senator Johnson Muthama.

All eight were arrested on Tuesday and have been held in custody since then, with Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo warning their power and influence meant they might interfere with investigations.

Prosecution lawyer Leonard Maingi on Friday argued the eight should be refused bail as they would likely repeat the alleged offences if allowed out.

But Ogembo, while noting that these are "serious charges", approved their release on bail.

Kuria and Waititu are accused of making public statements threatening the life of opposition leader Raila Odinga, a member of the Luo ethnic group, while Ngunjiri is said to have called for Luos in the central town of Nakuru to return to western Kenya, their traditional homeland.

On the CORD side, Mohammed, Mutua and Muthama are accused of inciting the storming of police headquarters, while Bosire and Jumwa are alleged to have predicted chaos and violence as a result of Kenyatta's failure to unite the country in the wake of widespread and deadly political violence following the 2007 elections.

Tensions are already rising ahead of elections due in August 2017.

Read more on:    kenya

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