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Ex-MP Lempurkel charged afresh with hate speech

He is alleged to have uttered abusive and threatening words towards members of Kikuyu community.

In Summary
  • The court heard that hundreds of people had been forced to flee from their homes allegedly due to the former MP’s utterance aired on a local television station.
  • His defence lawyers, however, have asked the court to take notice that the issues affecting Laikipia are the result of historical injustices.
Former Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel before Milimani Law Courts on January 13, 2022.
Former Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel before Milimani Law Courts on January 13, 2022.
Image: Douglas Okiddy

Former Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel was on Thursday charged afresh with hate speech.

The former legislator, who appeared before Milimani senior principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi,pleaded not guilty to the two charges against him.

This is after the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji amended the charges against him by introducing an additional charge of hate speech.

The former legislator was accused that on July 17, 2021 within the country, while on a television show aired by Maa TV, he made hateful remarks by uttering abusive and threatening words towards members of Kikuyu community.

The prosecution said the words caused ethnic hatred in Laikipia county.

He faced another charge of uttering abusive and threatening remarks towards members of white community on the same dates, saying "We have white people who have vast land," words that caused ethnic hatred. 

Lempurkel denied the charges before senior principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi and, through his lawyer Saitabao Kanchori, pleaded with the court to grant his client lenient bond terms, saying he is jobless.

He also pleaded with the court to retain the same bail terms issued to him in September last year when he was first charged.

On September 9, 2021, Lempurkel was arraigned before chief magistrate's court and denied hate speech charges a day after his arrest over clashes in Laikipia county.

His defence lawyers had asked the court to take notice that the issues affecting Laikipia are the result of historical injustices and land issues, which need to be addressed at a national level.

The court heard that hundreds of people had been forced to flee from their homes as a result of the fighting, allegedly due to the former MP’s utterance aired on a local television station between July 11 and 17, last year.

The lawyers had faulted the words in the charge sheet, saying they were authored by officers in the DPP’s office, and were not the exact words uttered by his client on a Maa TV show.

The lawyers had also noted that the actual words which were translated by officers of the National Cohesion and Integration had not been stated.

They had further told the court that the charge has mutated from murder, robbery with violence, stealing cattle and destruction of property to hate speech.

The court released him on a cash bail of Sh150,000.

The case will be mentioned on February 16.

(edited by Amol Awuor)