Kiambu Governor Kabogo on the spot over hate speech

By: ERIC WAINAINA

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo on Monday recorded a statement with detectives in connection with a video in which he was recorded making remarks that could amount to hate speech.

In the video — which was widely shared through social media — Mr Kabogo said he was prepared to take a confrontation to the doorsteps of political rivals.

On Monday, Mr Kabogo was driven to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation headquarters on Kiambu Road at about 4.30pm.

He was accompanied by his lawyers and ward representatives who included Mang’u MCA Kimani Gachihi, as well as his supporters.

The governor made the unsavoury remarks targeted at opposition leaders two Sundays ago at a function to celebrate secular musician John De Mathew at Thika Stadium.

In 2013, De Mathew also faced hate speech charges over the lyrics of one of his songs.

VIRAL VIDEO CLIP

Mr Kabogo was summoned for questioning following an order by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, who directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Joseph Boinnet, and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to study the clip and conduct further investigations and then forward their findings to him for action.

In the clip, Mr Kabogo is heard warning Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama to stop insulting President Uhuru Kenyatta, failure to which he would get him from his (Mr Muthama’s) mother’s house.

Mr Muthama is himself facing hate speech charges over remarks he made at Uhuru Park during a Cord rally two months ago.

In the recording, Mr Kabogo said that although he was not declaring war, he was making it clear that he was not afraid of anything, including being taken to court for the remarks.

He said he had enough money to defend himself should he land in the dock.The governor said opposition leaders should look for a boy that they can be insulting and leave the President alone.

BREAH OF LAW

Speaking to the media after leaving the DCI offices, he said that as far as he was concerned, he never breached any law and that he was a law-abiding citizen.

“I was summoned through the media and I have just told them (investigators) what they know,” he said after spending over an hour with the officers.

Speaking at a function in Ting’ang’a, Kiambu earlier in the day where he had gone to commission a water project, Mr Kabogo said he had no regrets since whatever he said was the truth.

The governor had said opposition leaders must style up and warned that he would go for Mr Muthama again if he dares to insult the President.

“The Kenyan law allows public prosecution and that is what I meant and what is wrong with that? I was not talking about President Uhuru but about the institution of the presidency which I reiterate must be respected,” he said.

“I am not a war monger, I am not a rumour monger and I do not make hate speech. In my remarks, I did not also talk about a community but I talked about two people, Muthama and the other one — you know him,” he said in an apparent reference to Cord leader Raila Odinga.

“I have also noticed Kalonzo Musyoka is also talking issues”.

Mr Kabogo said people must respect each other. However, he said he was not afraid of being arrested or detained because he was elected by the people.

RAILA’S CRITICISM

He defended his remarks against the Cord leader, saying he meant that he should stop political nonsense.

Mr Odinga has been a fierce critic of President Uhuru Kenyatta, especially over the failure by the President to fight corruption and steer the economy.

In the clip, he said, “Nyinyi watu wa magazeti mwambie Raila awache mambo ya upuzi. Sisi hatutaki upuzi. Na kama wanataka kupeleka watu kortini mimi niko tayari na niko na pesa ya kujitetea (You journalists should tell Raila to stop being a nuisance. And if they want to take people to court, I am ready to go, I have the money to defend myself)”.

The governor said there was nothing wrong in talking about circumcision because it is a key ritual among his community and he had no apologies to make.

“Even if I go to the police, how many days will I be detained? (Jomo) Kenyatta (the first President) was in prison and he returned and became the President and so even if they detain me, I will still be the governor,” he said.

Last week, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga warned that elected leaders were “beating the drums of violence” ahead of the countdown to the 2017 General Election, which he warned, could send the country into chaos unless action was taken early.

So far, five elected leaders have been on the spotlight after they were linked to inciting remarks or words interpreted as hate speech.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION