Eight legislators spent night in police cells yesterday as the State hunted down those trading on hate speech.
The legislators who were captured had to put up with forcible arrest, a three-hour time in the cell and a further detention of four days in remand after police said they need more time to investigate the case thoroughly.
The suspects if found guilty might either pay a fine of Sh1 million or face a jail term of three years. Francis Munyororo speaking for Jubilee, said bail was a constitutional right that cannot be denied on basis of apprehensions.
Their arrests and arraignment in court didn’t run short of drama as poilce went in search of the suspects in dawn raids.
The Jubilee coalition’s Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) escaped the raids because they on their own presented themselves to Directorate of Criminal Investigations where they recorded statements on Monday night after they were summoned.
They left DCI offices at 9 pm on a free bond. Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) was also not arrested after he presented himself to the police.
But the opposition gave a different scene as lawmakers who delayed or rather refused to appear before the police ended up being dragged to the station in an embarrassing way.
They first of all woke up to the police raid with several officers rounding up their homes before being taken to the station. One was even waited outside a TV room following an interview and was bundled off as he made it to his car.
Johnstone Muthama (Machakos), Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi), Florence Mutua (Busia) and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba) with others were marched to the court even after they recorded statements at the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road.
They were all detained until 5 pm before being arraigned in court to face charges for issuing a hate speech to their audience.
During the proceedings, the suspects waited in the dock while their respective lawyers debated for their freedom until 7.30 pm when Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo said they must ‘smell the rod’ for four days.
With the court room packed with dignitaries including Opposition leader, Raila Odinga and at least 35 CORD MPs , Mr. Ogembo ruled that the MPs suspected of hate speech and inflammatory comments will be detained for four days to give the police enough time to conclude investigations.
Immediately after the order, police officers marched all the suspects to the cells next to the courtroom. Ogembo said the suspects should be remanded at Kilimani, Muthaiga, Muthangari, and Gigiri police stations.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Leonard Maingi said the MPs had to be locked up because, if set free, they would use their influence to interfere with investigations.
Mr. Maingi said the country is doing everything it will to avoid a repeat of 2007 post-election violence.
Before the proceedings, Starehe MP Maina Kamanda was pushed out of the courtroom. Police escorted him out of the Milimani Law Courts for trying to interrupt the process.
Kuria also irked the curious crowd when he held Waititu and Ngunjiri’s arms and raised them in a victory salute.
They were booed by the Opposition supporters before Raila cautioned them to remain calm. Raila on the other hand denied that CORD MPs were embarrassed during the arrest. He said they volunatrily presented themselves to the police and that the nature of the application does not show any offences committed by the CORD legislators. According to the ODM leader, the hate speech allegation will not be allowed to rock their coalition.
Moses Kuria is among the seized MPs for making remarks said to be urging the government to assassinate Raila Odinga for carrying a series of protests which endangers the peace of the nation.
His counter part, Ferdinand Waititu had also recommended that a forcible circumcision be carried out on ll members of Luo community who live in Nairobi.
The Prosecution said Mr. Mohammed, Mr. Muthama, Mr. Bosire, Ms. Mutua and Ms. Jumwa at a press conference on June 13 at Capitol Hill said things that could incite violence as they threatened to storm the IG’s office if “certain people” were not arrested.