Muthama and MP Moses Kuria arrested in fresh police crackdown on hate speech

Moses Kuria
  • Johnstone Muthama and Moses Kuria on Monday returned to Pangani police station
  • They were arrested separately and taken to the DCI offices, where they were grilled for hours.
  • Kuria is accused of insulting Raila while Muthama is said to have abused the President

For the second time in a year, an MP and a former senator were held at Pangani Police Station yesterday over alleged hate speech.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, who were arrested separately earlier in the day, were denied police bond after they were interrogated for hours at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters.

They were to spend the night in the same police cell where, along with four other MPs, they were detained for six days in June 2016 over similar allegations.

Both Kuria and Muthama were driven to Pangani police station, where they were booked ahead of today’s arraignment in court.

NASA leader Raila Odinga, Governor Hassan Joho, MPs Babu Owino, Sabina Chege, Junet Mohamed, Gladys Wanga, Esther Passaris, and Senator James Orengo were among those who visited the station, seeking the release of the two in vain.

They had demanded that they be released on cash bail.

Mr Kuria was picked up by detectives from the Flying Squad in the the city’s central business district while Mr Muthama was arrested at his Tala home, Kangundo, yesterday afternoon.

Police also went to the private offices of Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch, saying they wanted to see him. Mr Oluoch was said to be away at the time.

“I have reported this matter to the LSK because the visit amounts to harassment because of my work,” said Oluoch.

Kuria was the first to be arrested by detectives following alleged abusive attacks on Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Social media

Muthama is accused of abusing President Kenyatta. He is said to have made his remarks on Sunday in Kitengela during a NASA rally. A clip of his speech has widely been shared on social media.

A senior police source said: “He (Muthama) was arrested at around 2pm at his Tala residence and was driven to CID headquarters in Nairobi for interrogation.”

Kuria triggered public outrage with an abusive attack on Raila and the National Super Alliance. In a live stream on his Facebook page, the MP hurled insults at Raila and his family.

Before their arrest, Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had warned that the law would be applied unselectively against people who perpetrate hate speech across the country.

Those thinking their political affiliations will favour them to spur hate messages with impunity, he said, will be dealt with according to the law.

“We should not be people who abuse each other every other time when we have political or ideological differences,” Matiang’i said.