President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday cautioned that he would not tolerate ethnic bigotry and hate comments, insisting that those who have chosen this part ahead of the 2017 General Election would and should face the full force of the law.
This was in response to the arraignment in court of three of Jubilee legislators in the current hate speech investigation and demands by Opposition leader Raila Odinga that five Opposition MPs detained alongside them on similar claims, be released.
According to the president:
“The issue should be that person be given fair hearing as demanded by the laws of natural justice enshrined in our Constitution to be able to say whether what he said was or was not inciteful or not. So if we’re to demonstrate, we’re to demonstrate because that person was not being given full hearing. But we should not be allowed to go and say oh, huyu ameshikwa kwa sababu ni supporter wa fulani. And then we want to go and demonstrate to release him and don’t follow due process.”
Opposition leader Odinga had asked the government to free his coalition’s members including Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire, Busia and Kilifi Women’s Representatives Florence Mutua and Aisha Jumwa.
He made the demand at the Pangani Police Station where he had gone to see the detained MPs. He described their detention on the court’s orders, pending the finalizing of investigations into the hate speech charges against them, as “a gross violation.”
President Kenyatta is nonetheless insistent that the suspects must face the law and that the courts orders must be followed.
Though members of his party including MP Moses Kuria for Gatundu South, Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri and Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu, were also held for hate speech, the president said everybody caught must be charged equally.
“We cannot allow an issue which ultimately can blow up to be a major issue to go ignored. It can explode and burn our country. We have to be able to nip this in the bud. It is true and I will say it. We all know that the problems that we had in 2007 was a result of inciteful statements by politicians that led to clashes between communities, people who lived together as neighbours. Statements that incite Kenyans against each other, instil fear will not be allowed should they come for CORD or Jubilee and those that choose to walk that path will face the full face of the law and that’s the way it’ll be so long as I am President.”
The said MPs who are still in police net will return to court on Friday for a ruling on whether they will be released on bail or not. The affected CORD MPs have been visited by CORD leaders Raila Odinga, Moses Wetangula and Kalonzo Musyoka, but the principals were not allowed access to the cells.
The MPs have apparently not eaten anything since they were detained at the station and their families were not allowed to bring them food from home.
Governor Joho on the other hand has lashed at the arrest of the CORD leaders, accusing authorities of being selective in applying justice.
The governor said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government was reluctant to arrest Jubilee leaders but face to bundle off those in the opposition.
The governor said the arrests are unfair and a threat to national stability.