A Nakuru court has freed Meru Senator Mithika Linturi on Ksh2 million cash bail or an alternative bond of Ksh5 million with a surety of a similar amount.
The court on Tuesday dismissed the prosecution’s application to hold the legislator for seven more days pending conclusion of investigation into hate speech case against him.
Linturi was ordered not to contact witnesses in the case as police finalise the probe before he is charged.
The Senator was arrested on Sunday following the ‘madoadoa’ remarks he made in Eldoret on Saturday, during a rally convened by Deputy President William Ruto.
The ‘madoadoa’ remarks were described by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) as inflammatory.
“Niwaambie nyinyi msituchezee, watu wa Uasin Gishu msicheze na Kenya. Na kile nawaomba ni kwamba madoadoa yale mlio nayo hapa muweze kuondoa, muweze kufanya nini? Hatuwezi kuwa tunasimama na William tukiwa Kule Mount Kenya na Meru alafu mko na wengine hapa hawasikii na hawaungani na yeye. Mko tayari kutuondolea hao? Mko tayari?” NCIC quoted Linturi.
According to NCIC, the utterances were calculated to be “hateful and likely to affect harmonious coexistence between the Kalenjins and other communities contrary Section 13(1) (a) of the National Cohesion and Integration Act.”
The slur sparked outrage from a section of Kenyans who called out Linturi for hate-mongering.
The phrase is linked to the 2007/08 post-election violence that left more than 1,100 people dead and 600,000 others displaced.
Linturi apologised on Saturday night saying he uttered the words ‘innocently’ without any sinister motive.
He claimed his speech was taken out of context adding that he was referring to politicians in the area who continue to oppose Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
“It is true that words like ‘madoadoa’, whilst otherwise innocent and legitimate expressions, have in certain contexts come to be understood as representing inflammatory intent. This context did not occur to me while I was speaking,” Linturi said in a statement.
“I must point out that my use of these words was in specific reference to our Parliamentary colleagues from Uasin Gishu County, who do not support UDA, and whom I urged voters to reject in favour of UDA candidates, given that we are in a political contest, and they are our rivals.”
Pledging peace, the Senator went on to ask for forgiveness from members of the public over the discomfort caused.
“On further reflection, and upon the advise of my colleagues, I regretfully concede that my choice of words was unfortunate. I therefore apologise, unreservedly, for the discomfort they may have created,” he said.
“I also take this opportunity to assure all Kenyans of my commitment, both as a citizen and as a leader, to national unity, peace, and cohesion within and among all communities.”