Kenyan MP jailed for criticising Moi

A controversial Kenyan opposition lawmaker was jailed for six months on Friday for publishing an “alarming” statement on ethnic violence in Kenya in 1997.

Nairobi magistrate Wanjiru Karanja jailed opposition lawmaker Njehu Gatabaki for publishing in the November 28, 1997 issue of his Finance Magazine an article entitled: “Moi Ordered Molo Massacres.”

The article accused Moi of being responsible for the ethnic clashes that gripped the country before the 1992 multi-party elections, in which more than 100 people were killed and thousands more displaced.

“The fact that the accused is a lawmaker should be taken into consideration, as he is entitled to make laws, but not to break them. The publication was likely to cause fear, alarm, and despondency,” Karanja said.

The government had appointed a judicial commission to look into the causes of the clashes, but its final report has never been made public.

A month ago, a high court judge in the port city of Mombasa ordered Attorney General Amos Wako to release the report to a businessman who is suing for compensation arising from the clashes in the coastal region’s tourist hub.

Wako has appealed against the high court order.

Gatabaki risks losing his parliamentary seat if he serves The entire six months in prison, as Kenyan law stipulates that lawmakers who fail to attend eight consecutive sittings of parliament without permission from the speaker will lose their seat. - Sapa-AFP

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