October 19th 2017

Entertainment / Celebrities

'Treason charge' catapults Machakos women rep to league of fiery CORD colleagues

Acting in the shadow of senator Johnson Muthama, the MP is one of the fiercest critics of Jubilee, almost at par with her fellow women reps Mishi Mboko (Mombasa), Florence Mutua (Busia) and Kilifi’s Aisha Jumwa, all of whom have never minced their words in criticising the government.

By Phillip MuleeMonday, 07 Nov 2016 18:42 EAT

The MP's lawyer Haron Ndubi adresses the media outside Machakos Law Courts this afternoon. (Photo: Free Press Correspondent).

Machakos Women Representative Susan Musyoka’s call on President Uhuru Kenyatta to "resign or commit suicide" if he cannot fight corruption, has precipitated a new national discussion on treason charges. A relic from the single party era, treason was often used to scare government critics, even though the first treason charge was preferred only in the early 80s.

Under Jubilee, the charge has been invoked many times, including most recently last month when Nairobi senator Mike Sonko pompously claimed the title of 'acting president' in the absence of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, who were traveling abroad. Like in the current case of Dr Musyoka, the charge was invoked presumptuously, given the absence of a demonstrable case that the suspects were actively plotting to overthrow the legal government or president.

Dr Musyoka was, however, terrified enough by the reports about her potential investigation for treason to seek anticipatory bail. Machakos senior resident magistrate Irene Kahuya this afternoon granted the MP orders stopping the police from arresting her for allegedly making utterances that bordered on treason. The magistrate will rule on the bail terms at 3pm tomorrow Tuesday.

According to the MP's lawyer Harun Ndubi, Dr Musyoka had received a call from the Machakos county police commander Jacinta Wesonga requiring her to record a statement on utterances she made last week. Mr Ndubi told the magistrate that his client was unwell and could not record a statement at the time and therefore the police had been looking for her. He urged the court to grant Dr Musyoka anticipatory bail as the police were likely to arrest her.

Mr Ndubi cited the case of Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, who had been arrested and locked at Pangani Police Station for days only to be acquitted by the courts for lack of evidence. On Friday, the MP for Makueni Daniel Maanzo, who is also one of Dr Musyoka’s lawyers, said they had learned that the women rep was likely to be charged with treason, the penalty for which is death.

A subset of the MP's plight since her remarks is the increased recognition of her fiery rhetoric. Acting in the shadow of Machakos senator Muthama, the MP is one of the fiercest critics of the Jubilee government, almost at par with her fellow women reps Mishi Mboko (Mombasa), Florence Mutua (Busia) and Kilifi’s Aisha Jumwa, all of whom have never minced their words in criticizing the government.

Incidentally, all three have faced criminal charges, some say on trumped up charges, and Dr Musyoka could join them in that infamous record. The MP was quoted as saying: “The buck stops with the President. If he cannot handle corruption cases, he should either resign or commit suicide. We have reached that stage where the country is bleeding and there seems to be no solution.”

The comments were definitely not well received by Jubilee leaders. Nominated MP Senator Zipporah Kittony expressed her deep disappointment at the words. “I am not condoning corruption, but women should refrain from using inappropriate language, especially referring to the head of state, even if it is just out of respect for the office he holds,” the senator stated.

Kittony, who was a long-serving Chairperson of the national women's organisation, the Maendeleo Wanaweke, asked the Machakos legislator to moderate her language. A number of social media users who are sympathetic to the Jubilee regime have gone ahead to call for the arrest of the vocal MP.

Last Tuesday,  Dr Musyoka addressed a news conference in Machakos Town where she complained that the unending cases of public funds being lost are “becoming completely intolerable”. She went on to sarcastically advise the head of state to “resign or commit suicide for not tackling corruption”. She was summoned to record a statement with CID in Machakos on Friday but failed to appear.

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