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Korogocho MCA freed after court throws out hate speech charges

Member of County Assembly for Korogocho Ward in Nairobi, Absalom Odhiambo Onyango, is a now a free man.

Mr Onyango has been freed unconditionally by the Milimani Law Courts after trial magistrate Gilbert Shikwe said the MCA was arrested and detained based on a non-existent law.

In his ruling, the magistrate faulted the police and the prosecution for being insensitive to the changes in the law while seeking orders to detain the MCA.

Shikwe also noted that the Inspector General of Police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) should have known that the law in which they relied in seeking detention orders have been expunged from the statutes and therefore it doesn’t exist in the legal books having declared unconstitutional by appeal Judges Jessit Lesiit John Mativo and Luka Kimaru.

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Judge Shikwe said the prosecution did not challenge the application to discharge the MCA over the impugned law.

“As it is now, the application remains unchallenged and I order the immediate release of Onyango unless lawfully held,” the magistrate said in his ruling.

The magistrate also put the Attorney General for failing to present amendments to the law to Parliament as directed by three Judge of the superior court.  The AG had been given one year to make the amendment in the law which he has failed to do to this day.

The magistrate also said the hurried manner in which the state rushed the MCA to court leaves a lot to be desired.

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Defence lawyers Sam Nyaberi and Danstan Omari argued that one cannot be held on non-existent law. While urging the court to discharge their client, the defence team claimed that the police are using outdated laws to detain the MCA.

Immediately after his release the MCA said he will institute legal action against the DCI, the Inspector General of Police and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for illegal arrest and detention which, he said, has caused his embarrassment and disrepute.

The MCA spent two nights in custody at the Central Police Station after he was arrested over allegations of incitement to violence and disobedience of the law through utterances he made during a meeting at Chungwa House in Capitol Hill on January 25, 2023.

At the same time, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has summoned six other MCAs, including Nairobi Majority Leader Peter Imwatok over undisclosed offences. The six are set to appear before the commission on Tuesday next week.

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