Korogocho MCA Absalom Odhiambo freed

An appeal by the police to jail Korogocho MCA Absalom Odhiambo for seven days awaiting inquiries in the suspected hate speech case has been rejected by a court in Nairobi. The motion was submitted in connection with the case.

The main magistrate in Milimani, Gilbert Shikwe, came to the conclusion that the request that was submitted was not founded on any section of the law.

He ordered the police to let Odhiambo go as soon as possible with no more consequences.

"I have examined the evidence that was put up in court. I have looked at the judgment made by the High Court that declared part 96A of the criminal code to be unconstitutional, and I have seen that the ruling has not been contested by the prosecution," Shikwe stated.

"It is a reality that cannot be disputed that the applicant requesting orders to hold the suspect for seven days has no legal leg to stand on, and the only choice that is available is to dismiss."

"He is hereby freed unconditionally by this court, unless he is being kept in violation of the law."

The magistrate kept making the lawyer feel bad by saying that he was avoiding his duties by not making the change to the law that the justices of the High Court had asked for.

After submitting yet another application in the morning, the lawyer for the defendant, led by Danstan Omari, temporarily halted the decision-making process.

The incitement to violence case that is being brought against the MCA took an unexpected turn when the MCA's attorney, Danstan Omari, brought to the court's attention the fact that the section of the Penal Code under which the MCA was arrested, Section 96A, is constitutional according to a ruling that was handed down by a three-judge bench in 2015.

The defense claims that in 2015, the politician Johnstone Muthama contested the legitimacy of incitement charges that were provided for in the aforementioned part of the Penal Code. As a result, the High Court justices urged Parliament to remove the provision.

The court was told that the hate speech crime is no longer a crime under the law because the provision has not been changed.

"The section under which my client was detained and brought here demonstrates that the court has no business, as per the High Court order, to hold the MCA even for a second," the lawyer said.

The judge agreed with the defense and said that because "the decision is properly seized before it would be given, he couldn't give it on the day that was originally planned."

The court then decided to put the case off until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. At that time, it was expected that the judge would decide whether to keep the MCA in jail for seven days or to let him go.

In the petition that was brought before the court, the police requested that the MCA be held so that they could finish their investigations into charges that he used remarks that had the potential to provoke violence or destabilize the country.

The police said they needed seven days to get any potentially inciting texts from the suspect's phone and record statements for the state to strengthen the evidence that would be brought to court.

While Odhiambo was waiting to speak with authorities from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission at their headquarters on Upper Hill, he was taken into custody by law enforcement.

The Commission wanted to speak with Odhiambo about certain comments he made at a meeting for Azimio grassroots leaders that was held on Wednesday of the previous week and was hosted by ODM leader Raila Odinga.

It is said that Odhiambo used words that stirred up the crowd when he spoke at the protest.

He begged Raila for permission to enter State House and evict Ruto from the premises by force.

"Nataka tuingie town, tufunge biashara. Hakuna biashara itaendelea hii town ya Nairobi. Ndio William Ruto aheshimu Raila Odinga lazima tufunge biashara hii town," he said.

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