, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 16 – Moyale Member of Parliament Roba Duba and Butiye County Ward Representative Golicha Galgalo were on Monday charged in a Nairobi court with incitement to violence.
The two are accused of making comments that provoked violence between communities living in Moyale.
They however denied the allegations when they appeared before the Nairobi Chief Magistrate.
Duba and Galgalo were released on a cash bail of Sh100,000 each until January 27 when the case will be heard.
It is alleged that they committed the offence on November 29 along the Moyale-Marsabit Road at Walda location in Sololo District Marsabit County.
The prosecution alleges the two politicians uttered words that were intended to cause violence between the Borana, Gabra and Burji communities by inciting Borana youths to loot assorted goods from a lorry.
While freeing them on bail, Magistrate Lucy Mbugua ordered they be supplied with witness statements and any documents that will be relied on by the State during hearing of the case.
At least 20 people have been confirmed dead in the ongoing clashes as of December 3, as more than 100 houses were torched including that of Galgalo and a former Moyale MP Guyo Halake.
Following the violence, the government deployed the Kenya Defence Forces in Northern Kenya to help contain ethnic violence.
Police have so far arrested 32 people.
An estimated 70,000 Moyale residents are reported to have fled to neighbouring Ethiopia due to the conflict. Businesses, including banks have been closed down for several days now in Moyale town.
Duba had claimed on December 6 that the conflict was as a result of poor governance on the part of the counties, and dismissed allegations that the violence was due to ethnic differences.
His sentiment differed from those of other local leaders such as Marsabit County Women Representative Nasra Ibrahim Ibren, Marsabit Senator Abubakar Hargura and North Horr MP Chachu Ganya, who requested mediation between communities to restore peace.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo last Monday summoned all elected leaders from Marsabit County to record statements over the violence in the region at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku had warned politicians against inciting the youth to violence, particularly in Moyale, Mandera and Marsabit.
Other than possible incitement by politicians, the conflict in the County has also been fuelled by deep-seated issues over land and grazing areas.