DPP okays Mwakwere’s trial for hate speech

July 27, 2012 1:29 pm
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According to Keriako Tobiko, there is sufficient evidence to sustain charges pressed against the minister by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC)/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Friday approved the prosecution of Environment Minister Chirau Mwakwere for hate speech.

According to Keriako Tobiko, there is sufficient evidence to sustain charges pressed against the minister by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC).

The High Court had earlier on Friday dismissed the minister’s petition that sought to block NCIC, the Police and the DPP from filing charges against him.

In the ruling, Justice Majanja said unregulated speech would lead to social and political conflagration.

“The court cannot interfere with the roles of NCIC and DPP unless it is demonstrated that they are not acting within the law,” Justice Majanja ruled.

The Matuga MP is alleged to have said during a by-election campaign in his constituency in July 2010 that indigenous Coastal people have been oppressed by Arabs.

The Environment Minister had moved to court in a bid to block a Chief Inspector of police Robert Mabera, Commissioner of Police, NCIC, the Attorney General and DPP from arresting and prosecuting him.

In the application, Mwakwere stated that he was airing his views on the historical injustices suffered by his people, which is a constitutional right guaranteed to him under Article 27 of the Constitution.

He had also expressed fears that his arrest would cause him to vacate his Cabinet position.

If Mwakwere is charged, he will have to step aside from his Cabinet position until the case is heard and determined.

The NCIC Act makes hate speech punishable by fine or jail or both.

Incitement to violence attracts five years’ imprisonment without the option of a fine.

Hate speech that stirs ethnic hatred attracts a maximum Sh1 million fine, three years in jail or both.

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