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Sonko loses bid against DCI summons over election violence claims

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

The High Court has declined a request by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to stop the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) from questioning him over remarks on poll chaos that were allegedly staged. Sonko wanted the court to grant an order against Assistant Inspector-General John Kariuki’s decision to summon him to the DCI headquarters to record a statement. The senior police officer, who is also the Investigations Bureau director at the DCI headquarters, had directed Sonko to appear for questioning on alleged offences of “undermining the authority of a public officer, incitement to violence and disobedience of the law”. He is expected to shed light on claims he made at a public rally – that together with Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, they planned violence in Nairobi during the 2017 General Election. The PS has denied the allegations and has already had his session with the DCI.

Sonko’s fears

In the court papers, Sonko said that at the rally, he did not make any utterances that amounted to incitement to commit violence. “My comments at the rally could not be construed as undermining a public officer for my comments were to reveal to the public that Kibicho and I committed criminal acts in the past,” he said. He feared that the Requisition to Compel Attendance at the DCI was a mere ploy to lure him to the police station for the purpose of arresting him. “[His fears] are grounded on retribution that Kibicho intends to mete out punishment for comments he made in a public rally on the January 24, 2021, in which he revealed that Kibicho committed criminal acts in the year 2017 after the General Elections, for the sole aim of tarnishing the name and image of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM),” reads the court documents.

“Whistleblower”

His lawyer John Khaminwa said that Sonko, following the utterances he made in public, considers himself a whistleblower. Sonko was served with Mr Kariuki’s requisition by more than 30 police officers insidethe Milimani Law Courts, after the hearing of one of the graft cases he faces. The lawyer said the manner of service was cruel, inhumane and an act deliberately designed to intimidate and grossly humiliate his client. He further argued that the summons was grounded on Section 132 of the Penal Code, which was declared unconstitutional by the High Court in 2017 in a case of blogger Robert Alai versus the Attorney-General. “Kariuki and the Inspector-General of the National Police Service cannot be relied upon to be impartial, for the said requisition makes references to the offence of undermining the authority of a public officer, which can only be read to mean the comments that Sonko made against Kibicho,” said Mr Khaminwa. He stated that any investigation by Mr Kariuki against Sonko would be biased and prejudicial. In publicly disclosing the information on poll chaos at a public venue, the lawyer further said, Sonko was exercising his rights and fundamental freedoms of assembly. – nation.co.ke