Man arraigned in court over Facebook post, released on Sh1m bond

ELDORET, KENYA: A 26-year-old man has been slapped with a Sh1 million bond after he was arraigned in an Eldoret court for allegedly posting a comment classified as hate speech on his Facebook account.

Meshack Kipchirchir Korir was charged with ethnic contempt in contravention to section 62 (1) of the NCIC Act No. 12 of 2008

He was arrested by National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) investigators in Kesses Sub-County in Uasin Gishu County on July 16, 2017 after being tracked down with the help of a mobile phone service provider and the Office of Registrar of Persons that helped identify him.

He is accused of posting the words: "Watu wahame waende wakafanye upuzi Central, Wamesikia kuna wakalee kwao?" (Some people should vacate and go and apply their stupidity in Central, have they heard that there are Kalenjins in their home?) on June 6, 2016.

Korir who appeared before Chief Magistrate Charles Obulutsa pleaded not guilty to the offense and requested to be released on bail seeking to access the witness statements and information from the mobile phone service provider before the matter can proceed on another date.

Mr Obulutsa however said matter is a serious offense that needs to be expedited and concluded before the elections period as per the directions from the office of the Chief Justice.

The Magistrate further declined to reduce the bail terms from Sh1 million as requested by the accused person, giving an alternative of Sh500, 000 cash bail.

He scheduled the matter for a mention on July 31, 2017 ahead of the hearing on August 1, reiterating that the matter needs to be arbitrated before the August 8 general elections.