Moses Kuria not off the hook yet as he appears in court over hate speech

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. Most of those who tweeted state they cannot understand how Kuria, whom they say does not give a good leadership example, is to give a lecture on leadership to university students. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | FILE

What you need to know:

  • In his last court appearance at the Milimani Law Courts, the prosecution obtained “gag orders” barring him from making further inflammatory comments on his Facebook page after he made comments about the killings in Wajir.
  • Recently, the MP vowed he was committed to stopping the trading of words on social media with opposing politicians and ethnic communities.
  • In the press conference overseen by NCIC and the Law Society of Kenya, Mr Kuria said: “Let us not burn this country using 40 words though a ceasefire cannot be unilateral.”

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is not off the hook yet in a hate speech case facing him before a criminal court in Nairobi.
The MP appeared before Principal Magistrate Enock Cherono. on Thursday morning for an update on the reconciliation process that he undertook recently after he publicly apologised over hate remarks he posted online.

In the remarks on social media, he had linked members of a certain local Kenyan community to the sporadic terrorist attacks that rocked the country late last year.

“We have so far taken steps towards the reconciliation process and we seek a month to conclude the same,” his lawyers told the court.
The prosecution confirmed that it was aware of the process and encouraged the MP to continue “the positive steps he has taken towards reconciliation” stating that a month was appropriate to conclude the process.

The court set a further mention date for February 14 for an update on the proposed reconciliation.

The MP faces charges of incitement to violence, hate speech and ethnic contempt.

Mr Kuria has since publicly apologised as one of the requirements aimed at settling the case.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) had required of Mr Kuria to personally call a press conference and announce his public apology and foot all attendant bills accompanying the exercise.

SIMILAR CASE

However, a similar case facing former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu was not withdrawn even after he made a similar public apology on the grounds that the NCIC had no powers in law to prosecute.

The prosecutor's powers are solely vested in the Director of Public Prosecutions and whose approval must be obtained before any criminal case is dropped.

Mr Kuria is out on a Sh5 million bail, which was extended to the next mention date.

In his last court appearance at the Milimani Law Courts, the prosecution obtained “gag orders” barring him from making further inflammatory comments on his Facebook page after he made comments about the killings in Wajir.

Recently, the MP vowed he was committed to stopping the trading of words on social media with opposing politicians and ethnic communities.

In the press conference overseen by NCIC and the Law Society of Kenya, Mr Kuria said: “Let us not burn this country using 40 words though a ceasefire cannot be unilateral.”

He called on his social media friends to tone down their messages, saying making inflammatory remarks would not benefit anyone.

“That is not to say that when other leaders attack the government, I will be quiet. Every action attracts a reaction. I expect the same from these politicians,” he said.

He said if other politicians did not tone down their comments, his apology would be in vain.

“I want to unconditionally apologise to those I have offended. I will now make statements that unite this country.”

PUBLIC APOLOGY

The chairman of the committee supervising the reconciliation, Mr Moriss Dzoro, instructed the lawmaker to make a public apology in the national dailies and on TV.

In addition to the apologies, Mr Kuria was directed to promote national cohesion and integration.

LSK Chief Executive Officer Apollo Mboya said the suit against the MP had not been dropped, pending agreement on the mode of an apology.

In July 2014, the DPP wrote to the NCIC to review whether statements made by Mr Kuria regarding the killings in Lamu constituted hate speech.

Although the LSK agreed to conciliation talks, it set conditions that the MP was to meet before the process could be concluded.

According to the LSK, Mr Kuria was expected to issue a public apology through the social and print media.

Among the conditions set by the LSK were that the conciliation process should be “undertaken in public with members of the public being invited” to participate and that “the accused will meet the costs that include undertaking activities that will bring about cohesion in the country”.

Mr Mboya said the association had resorted to court after Mr Kuria failed to meet its representatives to discuss the conditions set out for conciliation.

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