Blogger Alai challenges prosecution over ‘offensive’ tweet to Uhuru
The High Court has certified as urgent a case in which a blogger who was charged for posting an offensive post about President Uhuru Kenyatta on social media challenged his prosecution on Tuesday.
Robert Alai sued the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecution claiming that the law, which was used to charge him over his alleged offense, is unconstitutional.
He was on December 13, 2014 charged with undermining the authority of a public officer contrary to Section 132 of the Constitution because of a post on his Twitter account.
Prosecution had told the court that he had put up the alleged offensive post without being lawful required to execute publication of such a message.
Prosecution had also told the Magistrate Court in Kiambu where he was charged that the publication was calculated at bringing into contempt the lawful authority of President Kenyatta.
But in his application in the High Court in Nairobi, he claimed that his prosecution would be a violation of the constitution as well as undermines the freedom of expression.
“This matter has been certified urgent, copies of the case document be issued to the sued parties immediately for a hearing on May 11,” Justice Joseph Onguto said.
The blogger argued that Section 132 of the constitution limits another right therefore laws should not be vague.
He wants his prosecution temporarily halted until the validity of that law is determined.
“I am most apprehensive that unless a conservatory order is issued, there is real and grave danger that I will suffer irreparable harm as Section 132 will continue to be enforced against me rendering this application useless,” he said.
Section 132 of the Constitution states that any person without lawful excuse, utters, prints, publishes any words or does any act calculated to bring into contempt the lawful authority of a public officer, with proof, is guilty of an offense and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
His suit comes few days after Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi declared as unconstitutional a section of the Kenya Information Act which granted powers to the DPP to charge bloggers over their posts on licensed telecommunication system.
He allegedly tweeted that ‘Insulting Raila is what Uhuru can do’. ‘He hasn’t realized the value of the presidency’. ‘Adolescent President’. ‘This seat needs maturity’.