Activist Mutemi Kiama faces charges over Uhuru poster in IMF rage

Human rights activist Mutemi Kiama at the Milimani law courts yesterday. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

An activist arrested on Tuesday over a poster of President Uhuru Kenyatta widely circulated online will today know how long he will continue to be in custody as police prepare charges against him.

Senior Resident Magistrate Jane Kamau yesterday ordered police to detain Edwin Mutemi Kiama at Central Police Station and present him in court today for the ruling.

Police had sought to detain the suspect for 14 days as they complete their investigations, but this was opposed by Kiama's lawyers Haroun Ndubi and Martha Karua.

In an affidavit filed before the court, investigating officer Patrick Kibowen says he is investigating a case of suspected contravention of a number of provisions of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act.

He said he is handling a case of public interest as the accused has implicated the presidency by publishing the president's picture and circulating his identification number.

Kibowen said the case also includes false publication contrary to section 22(1) as read with section 22(2)(b) of the Act.

The officer says in his affidavit that Kiama committed the offences on different occasions between April 5 and 6, 2021 by way of publication on social media using his Twitter handle.

“The preliminary investigations have disclosed that the Twitter handles “Mwarimu wa Kiama” @MutemiWaKiamu and “Wanjiku Revolution" @WanjikuRevolt on which the suspected criminal publication was made is linked to Kiama,” Kibowen's affidavit reads.

He says the words amount to false publication contrary to the law.

The prosecution is led by Senior Assistant DPP Joseph Riungu.

Earlier in the day, police in Nairobi patrolled city streets to prevent other activists from holding demonstrations after word went round that Kiama was to be presented in court.

A police officer not authorised to speak to the media said the activists had planned to hold protests in support of their colleague, in contravention of the Covid-19 protocols.