NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 20 — MPs Moses Kuria and Ferdinand Waititu have been acquitted of hate speech charged due to lack of evidence.
The two were acquitted by Nairobi Magistrate Charity Oluoch who ruled that the English and Kiswahili translations provided as part of the evidence in the case were incorrect.
Kuria and Waititu were facing incitement to violence charges, having been arrested alongside four other MPs in what was commonly referred as the Pangani Six when they were arrested and detained in June last year.
In her ruling, the magistrate concluded that the video content of the evidence adduced in court could have been altered or edited.
“The source of that video clip is not known as it was uploaded on YouTube by unknown persons,” the magistrate pointed out.
Other leaders arrested with them at the time were Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Timothy Bosire of Kitutu Masaba, Kimani Ngunjiri of Bahati and Women’s representatives Aisha Jumwa and Florence Mutua of Kilifi and Busia respectively.
Kuria and Waititu were accused of uttering words tantamount to bringing death to Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga.
They had denied committing the charges at Kasarani during Njogu wa Njoroge’s thanksgiving service.
Junet and Mutua on the other hand had threatened to storm the office of the Inspector General of Police unless certain people were arrested and charged.
Muthama was accused of making similar threats on June 11, to storm the IG’s office.
Ngunjiri on the other hand uttered words that members of the Luo community should vacate Nakuru and go back to Kisumu.
Bosire had allegedly said President Uhuru Kenyatta had failed to unite the Republic and that chaos would erupt, as Jumwa was accused of saying that there would be no peace following remarks by Kuria.
The other legislators are yet to know their fate.
Previous cases of hate speech have suffered the same fate for a lack of or weak evidence.
On January 27, a Nairobi court dropped hate speech charges against Kiambu Governor William Kabogo for lack of evidence.
Governor Kabogo was taken to court for allegedly making disparaging remarks against Opposition leader Odinga.
READ: Court drops hate speech case against Kabogo ‘for lack of evidence.’