NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – A Nairobi court has summoned Kiambu Governor William Kabogo to plead to the charge of ethnic contempt for utterances made against Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo has directed that Kabogo appear before him on August 5 to answer to the charge.
According to court documents, Kabogo is suspected to have made the criminal statement on November 25, 2015.
“Which words according to police were intended to incite feelings of contempt against persons and communities in Kenya that do not ethnically embrace male circumcision,” the court papers read.
Kabogo is the latest politician to face charges on claims of having made inflammatory statements in a crackdown aimed at putting a stop to careless political statements that could inflame tensions in a country with a history of post-election violence.
A month ago eight politicians were held, on the courts orders, for four days to keep them from interfering with investigations into inflammatory statements they were suspected of making.
READ: Court orders 8 politicians detained for four days in hate speech probe
They were later charged and released with two suspected repeat offenders, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu, being released on hefty bail terms.
“It is a matter of grave concern to this court that both accused have pending cases before this court almost of a similar nature,” Ogembo said in his ruling at the time.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who was away in Brussels at the time said he would do everything in his power to keep Kenyans from slipping back down the slippery slope of ethnic violence regardless of who was behind it.
“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,” he vowed.
The six MPs who shared a cell, and have come to be popularly known as the Pangani Six, later made a show of reconciliation – coming from different sides of the political divide – having ‘learnt their lesson’ after a few nights on cold hard police cell floors.