Alan Wadi Okengo, a 25-year-old university student, pleaded guilty to hate speech and insulting the President Uhuru Kenyatta in a series of Facebook posts.
In a hearing in Nairobi, judge Ann Kaguru ordered Okengo to pay a Sh200,000 ($2,200) fine or serve one year behind bars, plus one year in jail without the option of a fine for insulting the president. Okengo is a fourth year Political Science student at Moi University.
His comments, which were posted online on December 18 and 19, stated that security in Kenya would only improve when members of the Kikuyu ethnic group are “deported” back to the central highlands region.
Okengo’s posts also insulted President Kenyatta over the passage of controversial anti-terrorism laws.
In his defence, Okengo – who police said was arrested while trying to flee to Uganda – said he was mentally ill.
“I am insane and would want to meet President Uhuru and apologise in person,” he told the court.