Kenya: Incitement Charges Against Lawmakers Dismissed

TWO Turkana MPs were all smiles yesterday after a magistrate rejected charges of incitement to violence preferred against them.

Chief magistrate Kiarie Waweru Kiarie said the charges against Turkana South MP Josephat Nanok and his Turkana Central counterpart Ekwee Ethuro were defective. He said the allegations of the charge sheet are “unclear and do not disclose an offence”.

“I, therefore, find that the particulars do not support the charge as per section 134 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” he said. Kiarie said the particulars on the charge sheet should have given reasonable and sufficient information to enable Nanok and Ethuro to prepare for their defence.

He said the section says: “Every charge or information shall contain, and shall be sufficient if it contains, a statement of the specific offence or offences with which the accused person is charged, together with such particulars as may be necessary for giving reasonable information as to the nature of the offence charged”.

Kiarie said it appeared to him that on the first quote, the MPs were complaining against disarming the Turkana and leaving out their Samburu and Pokot neighbours.

The second one in his view is an opinion on what happened in Baragoi on November 10, when more than 40 policemen and reservists were killed by bandits.

The two MPs are alleged to have said: “If you don’t disarm the Pokot, Samburu, it is only the Turkanas you want to disarm”. And the second quote reads: “That you come in the night to shell a village, they decided they better face them out in the valley. That is what happened and in the valley it is harsh, hot, it is caved you can’t fight there if you have not fought there”.

The court further faulted the prosecution in the manner the charge was couched questioning how possible it was for the two MPs to utter the words jointly.

On immunity of MPs at the precincts of Parliament buildings, Kiarie said it was not clear where the offence was committed as the charge sheet only talks of the offence being committed in Nairobi. He said he could not rule on whether the two MPs were protected by the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act.

An attempt by the prosecutor senior superintendent Onesmus Towett to substitute the charge while Nanok and Ethuro were still in dock was rejected by the court.

However, The MPs can be arrested and charged afresh if the police amend the charge sheet. Nanok, who is the Forestry assistant Minister and his co-accused walked out to the jubilation of their supporters.

While preferring the charges against the duo on Monday, the prosecution alleged that the MPs utterances justified the killing of the police in Suguta Valley.

Kiarie told Nanok and Ethuro to collect their cash bail of Sh100,000 which they had deposited in court on Monday to secure their release.