NAKURU, Kenya, Sep 8 – Johanna Ng’eno, the vocal Emurua Dikirr lawmaker arrested on Monday over hate speech, will remain in police custody until Thursday when a Nakuru court is expected to issue a ruling on his bail application.
Ng’eno denied fanning ethnic tension when he appeared before Nakuru Chief Magistrate, Elizabeth Osui on Tuesday.
The lawmaker was also charged for using abusive language during a gathering on Sunday, September 6, in Olgos Sofia Village in Trans Mara.
He appeared before the magistrate through a videoconference link at the Nakuru Police Station.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji on Tuesday approved hate speech charges against the lawmaker under the Cohesion and Integration Act.
In a 5 minutes clip circulated online, the MP was also captured lashing out at President Uhuru Kenyatta accusing him of sidelining Deputy President William Ruto in the management of the country’s affairs.
Haji said the MP uttered words which are likely to stir ethnic animosity among communities residing within Trans Mara area, adding that his office is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to mount a successful prosecution.
The DPP noted that the MP’s actions may open old wounds and incite the different communities in the area against each other owing that Mau forest has been an area of contention.
“Based on the evidence, applicable laws and the National Prosecution Policy, I have directed that, criminal charges be preferred against the MP for hate speech contrary to section 13 of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2008 and conduct conducive to breaches of peace contrary to section 94 of the Penal Code,” stated the DPP.
Section 13 of the National Cohesion and Integration Act provides that a person who uses “threatening, abusive or insulting words, commits an offense if such person intends to thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up.”
It also provides that: “any person who commits an offense under this section shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.”
Ng’eno’s arrest on Monday marked the third time the legislator has arrested in similar circumstances.
The DPP also cautioned politicians sowing seeds of discord against Kenyans, saying this will not be tolerated regardless of their social standing.