– The MP wants media banned as he feels they are one-sided? well if it is one -sided to say no to tribalism, hate speeches, etc. well then i guess the media is, but as most people think, that is not being one-sided, but it is standing for the truth, no matter if it is 30 seconds out of a 45 minutes clip.
A Nairobi court is on Monday expected to rule on whether the media should be barred from covering proceedings in the trial of controversial Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.
The MP, who is being tried on hate speech and incitement to violence charges, wants the media gagged on the grounds that he has been increasingly getting “negative” publicity.
He argues the publicity has partly contributed to a fresh investigation on a matter where he is likely to be prosecuted.
The issue regards recent remarks be made in his constituency against politicians opposed to National Youth Service (NYS) initiatives.
Mr Kuria reportedly told youths brandishing machetes to “slash” anyone opposing NYS programmes.
The incident was captured and aired on national TV and reported in the local daily newspapers.
Although the politician has since said he regretted saying those words, he has remained unapologetic over the claims.
Last week, he caused a stir when he walked out of a live TV interview, accusing the media of being biased.
He had objected to Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohamed’s request to play the controversial “slashing” video clip, claiming it was a distortion of facts.
The legislator instead wanted the 45-minute clip aired entirely for “contextualisation” and not the edited bit.
“Kenyans will be shocked that the function where I am supposed to have issued the inciting statement was on June 26, 2015. The story came out 13 days later. It was calculated editing of what happened. It is sad that the media can come up with this,” he charged before storming out when the station started playing the clip.
The politician’s freedom is now threatened by a new request for the cancellation of the Sh2 million bond terms he was granted in a separate case of hate speech.
The bond terms were granted on the condition that he cease uttering or posting further hate messages.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko had made a similar request last year after Mr Kuria posted “a tribal tirade on his Twitter (page) before the pending hate speech case was determined, but the court overruled the application, instead verbally warning Mr Kuria to “exercise restraint”.
RETURNED TO COURT
Last week, Mr Tobiko returned to court under a certificate of urgency to seek the cancellation of bail given to Mr Kuria in the previous case of incitement.
The DPP and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission have raised concerns about the MP’s utterances in the video clip.
Police have since opened a fresh inquiry into incitement charges, with the MP being grilled at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters.
DCI Director Ndegwa Muhoro has said police are investigating the case and would send the file to the DPP for action soon.
The DPP called Mr Kuria’s request to bar the media “trivial” and asked the court to reject it.
“There is an increased shift to encourage public participation in all spheres of decision-making including court proceedings,” the DPP said through an assistant, Mr Leonard Maingi.
“It beats logic, therefore, that a matter arising from statements that were uttered at a public rally now be adjudicated in private,” the prosecutor went on in the objection.
He said Article 20 of the Constitution, which Mr Kuria’s lawyers had invoked, does not necessarily give the court express powers to exclude the media from proceedings unless its is deemed to be a matter touching on national security or to do with the protection of vulnerable witnesses.
“The court should instead ensure that there is an open, transparent and fair process in litigation as opposed to closed and opaque proceedings where no one ever gets to know or hear about as the accused now seeks,” Mr Maingi said.
Mr Kuria’s lawyers said they were apprehensive his rights may be breached if the media are allowed to cover his case.