Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa and her bodyguard Okuto Otieno have been released from police custody on Ksh500,000 cash bail or Ksh1 million bond each.
The two, who were arrested on Wednesday morning at around 3am, were arraigned at Mombasa Law Courts.
Senior Resident Magistrate Vincent Adet rejected the prosecution’s request to detain the two for 21 days to allow the police conclude investigations into a fracas that led to the death of one person on Tuesday night in Ganda, Malindi, Kilifi County.
The deceased, Ngumbao Jola, was shot dead following the chaos that was witnessed after Jumwa stormed a meeting of ODM agents at a house belonging to Reuben Katana, the ODM candidate in today’s Ganda Ward by-election
The police accuse the MP of assault, incitement and murder of Jola, an uncle to Katana. However, the charge sheet was not ready by the time she was arraigned on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s illegal for the police to have someone they don’t have evidence against to be held without a charge. Police must only arrest when they have evidence against suspects. The Constitution disallows this,” the magistrate said.
The suspects were ordered to present themselves to DCI offices in Malindi on October 22, 2019.
The court heard that if Ms Jumwa, who is supporting Abdul Omar, is released from police custody she will interfere with potential witnesses in the case.
However, the defendants’ legal team argued that the suspects have a right to be released on bail.
The lawmaker’s lawyer argued that his client is Omar’s Chief Agent and detaining her would deny the candidate a chance to be represented by a person of his choice.
On Wednesday, the vocal lawmaker denied the allegations that she shot Katana’s uncle dead, saying the guns were fired after she had already left.
“I am not armed, I do not possess a gun or shown any interest to apply for a firearm licence. Therefore, the people who organised the illegal meeting should take responsibility for the death,” she said.
On the same day, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) condemned the melee.
The Commission Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, noted that IEBC had summoned the two candidates involved in the melee — Omar and Katana — to record statements on the matter.
“The Commission does not condone any acts of lawlessness that can subvert the course of a free and fair election and will not hesitate to take appropriate action against any perpetrators, ” said Chebukati.
Chebukati added that the Thursday by-election will go on as scheduled.
“The security agencies have assured the Commission of adequate security during the by-election. We, therefore, urge the voters to come out in large numbers to exercise their democratic right, ” he added.