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Lawyer in court over ‘Biblical Regime’ tweets suggesting military takeover

A city lawyer is in trouble for making Twitter posts that ridiculed President William Ruto’s administration as a “Biblical Regime” and suggested that the military will take over the government and rule for 90 days before fresh elections are held.

Mr Joshua Otieno Ayika was charged with subversive activities contrary to section 77 (1) (a) of the penal code where he is accused of posting subversive words that were prejudicial to Kenya’s public order and security on July 16, 2023.

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Mr Ayika’s tweets allegedly suggested that the military will likely take over the government between Wednesday and Friday this week on his verified Twitter account.

He is also facing an additional charge of publication of false information contrary to section 23 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act of 2018.

In the count, he is accused of publishing information predicting that the military will have taken over the “Biblical Regime” before elections were held in 90 days, words that the prosecution believes was information calculated to cause panic and chaos among Kenyan citizenry.

He is accused of posting the statement on his Twitter account on July 16.

He denied the charges before Chief Magistrate Francis Kyambia of the Makadara Law Courts and sought lenient bail and bond terms through his lawyers led by senior counsel Harun Ndubi.

The lawyers argued that Mr Ayika was arrested on July 20 and his mobile phone was confiscated and he was not able to reach out to his family and lawyers for help.

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They sought a court order to release the phone, but assistant director of public prosecutions Joseph Riungu opposed the application. Mr Riungu said the suspect used the mobile phone to make the alleged offensive tweets, which has been listed as evidence in the case.

Mr Riungu sought an order barring the lawyer from posting on Twitter.

But Mr Ndubi opposed the application stating that the orders sought by Mr Riungu can’t be supervised and enforced. He also said they amounted to taking away his constitutional right.

Mr Kyambia declined to order the mobile phone’s release and gang Mr Ayia from posting on his Twitter account.

The magistrate said the police could always arrest and charge the suspect if he made illegal statements.

Mr Ayika was released on a bond of Sh200, 000 with a surety of a similar amount and an alternative cash bail of Sh100, 000.

The case will be mentioned on September 12 before the hearing starts on January 25 next year.

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