Kenya politicians freed on bail

Three Kenya MPs charged with incitement to violence have been freed on bail.

Assistant minister Wilfred Machage and MPs Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) were freed on a Sh100,000 bond, while Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany) was given a Sh200,000 cash bail.

Politician Christine Nyagitha was also released on a Sh100,000 bail.

The four had been charged earlier Wednesday but denied the incitement charges before Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei.

The politicians were ordered to report to the investigating officer Robert Mabera daily Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters at 9 a.m. and whenever required by police.

The case will be mentioned on June 21.

Ethnic hatred

According to the charge sheet, Dr Machage said words likely to stir up ethnic hatred during the launch of the 'No” secretariat at Nairobi’s Upper Hill on June 10.

On his part, Mr Kapondi was charged with one count while Ms Nyagitha also faces one count.

Mr Kutuny, who was separately charged, denied one count of distributing threat leaflets in Kitale town on unknown dates in May this year.

The leaflets contained the words; “To all non Pokots, Sengwer and Sabaots, to vacate our land by August before the constitution.”

The police allege that the leaflets were meant to stir up ethnic violence among people who settled in Uasin Gichu, Trans Nzoia, Ndalu , Lugari and Naitiri settlement schemes before the passing of the proposed constitution set for August 4.

If found guilty, the lawmakers and Ms Miller could be sentenced to three years in jail each or fined up to Sh1 million. The court can also impose both the fine and imprisonment.

After denying the charges, the prosecution led by superintendent Onesmus Towett asked that the suspects be held in police custody to allow the police complete their investigations.

Interfere with investigations

In making the application, the prosecutor said that being MPs, the accused persons were likely to interfere with investigations and the case being of public interest, it was prudent to keep them at Pangani and Muthaiga police stations.

But in opposition a team of eight lawyers led by Katwa Kigen said the offence was bailable and that it was a constitutional right to grant the bail.

He questioned why the police had not completed the investigations yet the alleged offences were committed a week ago. He said the reasons advanced by the prosecutor were flimsy and meant to intimidate and harass the accused persons for the stand against the proposed constitution.

He said all the accused persons were people of integrity and would abide by all the terms imposed by the court. On Ms Nyagitha, his lawyer said she was not a flight risk and would present herself to the police when needed.

“Nothing could be more in public interest than for the court to demonstrate that indeed this country through its courts still respect the rule of law and constitutional rights of its citizens,” said Mr Sintabao ole Kanchory.

Mr Kigen further said it was an infringement of Mr Kutuny’s right to privacy by asking him to release his mobile phone. The lawyer said the police should make a formal application if they wanted the Cherangany MP to hand over his mobile phone.

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