President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, September 25 during an Embu County tour laughed and said: “Hiyo (action against Babu Owino for allegedly insulting him), hiyo tutampa… Wewe ngoja tu. Kila kitu na wakati wake”, when a supporter lifted a placard which had the following words written on it: “Our President, we demand your action against Babu [expletive].”
The Head of State, who was on a campaign trail in parts of Chuka and Runyenjes in Embu County, further said he won’t engage in politics of insults, reiterating his statements made in previous campaign rallies that his administration will continue focusing on a development agenda.
“Matusi haijengi taifa. Wacha tuwaachie. Hawa vijana wao ambao hawana adabu, waendelee; waendelee; wakifikiria kwamba matusi itatusimamisha sisi kufanya kazi, anha. Sisi kazi tunaendelea, jamani (Insults do not develop a nation. We’re leaving the practice of insults to them (the Opposition). Let their ill-mannered youth continue hurling insults, let them go on. If they think offensive remarks would derail us from working for the people…We’ll continue doing what we do best – work.”
Embakasi East MP, Babu Owino, had allegedly made vile remarks against the presidency during a NASA rally in Dagoretti, Nairobi on Sunday, September 24.
Police on Monday evening arrested the former Students Organisation of Nairobi University (SONU) Chairman over the alleged offensive remarks.
Owino was questioned at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters on Kiambu Road following demonstrations by President Kenyatta’s supporters in Kiambu, Ruiru, Thika and Gatundu North, who demanded for his arrest.
Babu Owino spent Monday night in custody at the Pangani Police Station, and was arraigned before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi on Tuesday, September 26.
Owino was charged with two counts, which are: subversion, incitement to violence and offensive conduct conducive to breach of peace.
Babu Owino pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Mutuku opposed Babu Owino’s release on cash bail, saying there were compelling reasons to deny the accused a bond.
Owino’s lawyer, James Orengo, insisted the accused should be released on bail since the prosecution had not brought to the court an affidavit which demonstrated why the accused should be denied bail.
The prosecution argues that if Owino is released on bail, demonstrations in President Kenyatta’s heartlands will continue.
“The safety of the accused person cannot be guaranteed,” the prosecution submitted.
The prosecution further said since Babu Owino “had previously been charged three times in a span of 17 months”, and that the alleged vile remarks against President Kenyatta attracted a fourth charge, he ought not to be released on bond.
“This particular person does not deserve to be released on bond. He is a person of influence and if released on bail, he will interfere with witnesses lined up to testify against him,” the court was told.
The prosecution further argues that another key reason to denying Owino a bond is that tracing him could be difficult, given “his residence is not known. He has no fixed home.”
Owino’s lawyer, James Orengo, however, said there was no basis, according to the law, to charge his client.
The prosecution says Owino risks 5 years and 6 months in jail, if he is found guilty of the charges pressed against him.