‘Hate Speech Eight’ to stay in the cooler

‘Hate Speech Eight’ to stay in the cooler

Even murder and terror suspects are given bail, says lawyer.

Kimani Ngunjiri, Moses Kuria, Ferdinand Waititu, Timothy Bosire, Junet Mohammed, and Johnstone Muthama when they appeared before Milimani court on June 14, 2016 after they were arrested over alleged hate speech and incitement to violence. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The High Court yesterday refused to release on bail eight leaders detained on Tuesday over accusations of incitement to violence.

Justice Joseph Onguto threw out the plea and declined to give his reasons despite pleas by lawyers representing the Jubilee and Cord leaders that they would wait for his ruling.

“We agreed on the exact time to hear arguments on this matter, now the application has been dismissed, let’s meet tomorrow for the reasons,” he said.

Lawyers James Orengo, Norman Magaya, Stephen Ligunya, Anthony Tom Olouch and Harrison Kinyanjui had asked for time to convince the judge but he insisted that he could not allow his court to “go the Supreme Court way”—implying that he could not extend a hearing late into the evening.

In the morning, the five Cord leaders ordered detained in police stations by a Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday had moved to the High Court seeking bail. They were joined by the three from Jubilee in the afternoon.

The Cord leaders are Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Kilifi Woman Representative Aisha Jumwa, Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire and Busia Woman Rep Florence Mutua. The Jubilee MPs are Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) and Kimani Ngunjiri of Bahati, Nakuru.

They had sued the Inspector-General of Police, the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecution.

The Cord leaders claimed to have been held at Pangani and Muthaiga without food or water and access to medication, relatives, spouses or lawyers. They alleged inhuman treatment.

They alleged that their rights to a fair trial were being violated since even murder and terror suspects are usually set free on bail yet they had been denied.

They claimed to have been held at the DCI headquarters from 8 am to 3 pm before being taken to court and detained yet they had not been summoned by police to record statements.

“The charges themselves do not show incitement; can’t the court stand firm against such?” said Mr Orengo. “Incitement as per the law relates to threats to murder and insecurity, but this is not evident.”

The leaders protested that police had told the Magistrate’s Court to have them detained because they were likely to interfere with investigations yet Governor Kinuthia Mbugua, whom they accused of warning a certain community not to step in Nakuru, was free.

Dr Leonard Maingi, for the Director of Public Prosecution, said the leaders should have appealed against the order instead of moving to the Constitutional Court. Admitting that he had received complaints from lawyer John Khaminwa regarding the status in which the eight had been held, he promised to follow up the issue.