Dickens Wasonga and Baraka Karama @PeopleDailyKe
After spending a night in police cell, Nandi Governor Stephen Sang was yesterday charged with three offences following an incident in which he is accused of invading a private farm at the weekend.
Appearing before Kisumu resident magistrate Beryl Omolo, the governor was charged with malicious damage to property, abuse of office and incitement to violence.
He is accused that on Saturday, he led the destruction of four-acre tea bushes worth Sh2 million, property of Kibware tea estate in Tinderet.
Sang denied the charges and was released on Sh1 million bond or Sh500,000 cash bail.
Earlier, the magistrate dismissed an application that sought to have the lower court uphold a High Court injunction stopping arrest and prosecution of the governor.
And soon after his release, Sang addressed his supporters outside the law courts, where he vowed not to relent his efforts to repossess public land.
He claimed to have been ill treated at the Kisumu Police Station cell where he spent Monday night after arrest.
“I was forced to sleep on a dirty floor without being accorded the dignity of being a governor who was elected by the people of Nandi,” Sang told the crowd amid cheering.
“Nobody gave me food or water to drink.”
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi attended the court session in support of Sang. He hit out at the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, who he accused of being used by “certain forces within the government” to frustrate the governor.
He alleged a plot to intimidate a section of Jubilee Party leaders for political reasons. “How can the police who are expected to enforce the law be the ones breaking the same with impunity?” asked Sudi.
He said it was wrong for the DPP and IG to have allegedly instructed their juniors to ignore a court injunction barring Sang’s arrest and prosecution. The order had been issued by the High Court in Eldoret.
“The OCPDs and OCS and the other commanders in Nandi and Kisumu refused to accept to be served with the order. They were ordered to disappear by their superiors so that they are not served,” said Sudi. Sang read mischief in his arrest, and accused the government of double-speak.
“Between those who have grabbed public land and those trying to repossess it, who should be in court? We will continue to fight for the rights of the common man,” he said.
Earlier, police presented a seemingly subdued Sang in court in Kisumu in the morning before Justice Julius N’garn’gar, who disqualified himself from the case citing his close association with the county chief. This move forced the court orderlies to present the governor before magistrate Beryl Omolo for plea taking.
Sang was represented by lawyers Zephaniah Yego, Jane Masai and Nathan Tororei in the packed courtroom. Leaders who showed up in solidarity with Sang included Sudi and Nandi Deputy Governor Yulita Mitei, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi. On Monday evening, the Senate Leader of Majority Kipchumba Murkomen also visited the governor at the police station.
Meanwhile, the Council of Governors issued a statement expressing concern over Sang’s arrest, and urged security officials to handle the matter in line with the law.
“We demand that the rule of law and justice prevails in resolving this matter to allow the Governor resume his duties in the county,” said council chair Wycliffe Oparanya.