MP Waititu detained after facing charges

September 27, 2012 10:07 am
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Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu in court facing incitement charges/MIKE KARIUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27 – Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu will spend the night in police custody after he was charged with incitement to violence and hate speech.

He will know on Friday whether he will be released on bail.

His detention follows an objection by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution for his release, on grounds that he may abscond court attendance.

Through state counsel Lillian Obuo, the DPP said the lawmaker had refused to honour police summons and went into hiding when he learnt that he was being sought.

Obuo said from past behaviour, the MP is likely to skip court hearings.

The DPP also wanted the court to detain the MP for at least 48 hours to enable police conclude their investigations and take Waititu’s fingerprints and other details.

Waititu who is an assistant minister will be forced to relinquish his post following the charges.

Waititu had on Wednesday moved to the High Court to block his arrest and prosecution but his plea was rejected by justice Mary Ngugi who directed him to appear before the magistrate’s court on Thursday morning to plead to the charges.

Justice Ngugi said: “Individual liberty is important and must not be tampered with but the law must also be obeyed. The applicant (Waititu) will not stand trial before the police or the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

He is accused of saying: “Tunasema hiyo Wamaasai wote hatuwataki hapa Kayole” (We are saying today that we do not want Maasais in Kayole). “Wamaasai wote ni lazima waondoke, ni watanzania na hawana vitambulisho” (All Maasais must leave; they are from Tanzania and without identification cards).

He is accused of saying: “Tunasema hiyo Wamaasai wote hatuwataki hapa Kayole” (We are saying today that we do not want Maasais in Kayole). “Wamaasai wote ni lazima waondoke, ni watanzania na hawana vitambulisho” (All Maasais must leave; they are from Tanzania and without identification cards).

The prosecution says the words were calculated to bring violence to the Maasai community working in Kayole.”

Waititu had moved to the High Court saying that he was being condemned unheard and wanted the court to block his arrest.

He also alleged that his position as an assistant minister was in jeopardy as powerful individuals from one community were pushing for his arrest. He further wanted the court to determine an apparent conflict in the Constitution relating to freedom of speech and hate speech.

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