A Nairobi court has detained Korogocho MCA Absalom Odhiambo Onyango for one day pending ruling on whether to allow police to hold him for seven days awaiting probe over alleged incitement to violence.
Milimani Court Magistrate Gilbert Shikwe ordered for detention of Mr Onyango until tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, when the court will rule on an application by the Directorate of Criminal Investigators (DCI) seeking to hold him for one week.
“I need time to look at the submissions and the application. The MCA will remain in custody of the police pending the ruling tomorrow (Wednesday, February 1,” said the magistrate.
The court also ordered that Mr Odhiambo’s lawyers and family members be allowed access him while in custody.
The DCI, through investigating Officer Sergeant Francis Mwita, wants to hold the MCA longer so as to conclude investigations into the allegations of incitement to violence and disobedience of the law.
Mr Odhiambo alias Matakwey is alleged to have made the incitement remarks during a meeting at Chungwa House in Capitol Hill Nairobi on January 25, 2023.
“We urge this to issue custodial orders that Mr Odhiambo be detained for seven days from today at Central Police Station to allow officer Mr Mwita, an investigator with DCI or any other officer who may be appointed and authorized by the DCI, to complete investigations on a case of incitement to violence and disobedience of the law,” a police affidavit filed in court reads.
The officer wants to conduct a further probe on allegations that the MCA uttered words that are likely to cause violence or destabilise the country.
According to preliminary investigations, the DCI claims that the MCA is a habitual offender who wants to cause havoc in the country through his followers both from public address and social media.
The police argue that they need extra time so as to retrieve any possible inciting messages from his phone and record statements for the witnesses to enhance evidence for the intended prosecution.
Police asserts that Mr Odhiambo is a flight risk and should not be released in bail pending the completion of investigations.
“Based on the sensitivity of the matter, if the suspect is released on bail at this point he will interfere with witnesses. We are seeking these orders knowing that the words uttered are a security threat,” the court heard.
The DCI intends to record statements from the witnesses, who were present at the political meeting.
Mr Odhimabo was arrested on Monday at noon at the NCIC building when he had honoured the summons. He was later detained at Kiambu police station.
His defence lawyers led by Danstan Omari and Sam Nyaberi opposed the DCI application saying there are no compelling reasons availed by the state to warrant the further detention.
“It will be a violation of his constitutional rights that the state is seeking to detain the MCA on allegations that there are other people he is working with. He hold a high office being an MCA. He cannot run away from the wheels of Justice,” lawyer Nyaberi stated.
Mr Omari stated that the arrest and the intended prosecution of the politician was politically instigated.
“Today marks the first day when the current regime has abused power. We urged the court to resist the invitation to be used by the politicians for politics,” lawyer Omari stated.
“We call up the judiciary to be firm. We urge this court to be independent and to be fair. Let us not use court to settle political scores. We urge the court to release him on unconditional bail,” stated Mr Omari.
On the allegations that he is a flight risk, the lawyers told the court that their client “is a decorated MCA who has an office and a fixed abode and can also be traced at Nairobi County Assembly”.
Relating to allegations that he is working with other people, the defence team said that is is a fishing expedition mechanisms by the police.