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Mwakwere fails to block charges, due in court

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8 – Environment Minister Chirau Mwakwere is now expected to appear in court on Thursday to face hate speech charges after he failed to block the case.

Mwakwere moved to court on Wednesday afternoon to restrain the police from arresting him and taking him to court until an appeal he has filed to challenge the decision to charge him is determined.

High Court judge Florence Muchemi declined to issue the interim orders saying his application lacked merit.

The judge however certified his application as urgent. His lawyer Waweru Gatonye has been directed to serve his suit papers on the Commissioner of Police, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the Attorney- General and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The application is now due to be argued by all parties on August 15 .

Mwakwere wanted his appearance in court stopped since it will force him to vacate his Cabinet position yet he has a case pending challenging the decision to charge him.

“My rights shall be grossly violated by facing charges of expressing myself about the injustices suffered by the people at the coast and which injustices have been acknowledged,” he stated in his suit papers.

He argues that under the Constitution he has a right of appeal and intends to exercise that right to access justice because he stands to be prejudiced.

Mwakwere is facing arrest after the High Court dismissed his petition to block the National Cohesion and Integration Commission from charging him.

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The Director of Public Prosecutions subsequently issued an order for his arrest and arraignment in court.

The minister allegedly made offensive remarks, during a by-election campaign in his constituency in July 2010. He is alleged to have said that indigenous coastal people have been oppressed by the Arabs.

Mwakwere, who insists he is innocent, will be required to vacate his ministerial position until the case is finalised.


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