NAIROBI, Kenya, June 11 – A Magistrate Court in Kisumu is Tuesday afternoon set to rule on whether it will entertain charges against Nandi Governor Stephen Sang after his lawyers secured restraining orders from a High Court in Eldoret.
Sang was seized by detectives on Monday after presenting himself at the Kapsabet police station to record a statement with regards to an incident where he led a group of Nandi residents in uprooting a tea plantation at a disputed parcel of land.
He was driven to Kisumu under heavy police escort where he was detained for the night after recording a statement at regional Directorate of Criminal Investigation offices.
While issuing a directive following Sang’s appearance in court Tuesday morning, Resident Magistrate Beryl Omolo said the court needed to review issues raised by parties, including a restraining order issued by the High Court that Sang’s lawyers brought to her attention.
Justice Stephen Githinji sitting in Eldoret on Monday restrained detectives and prosecutors from “charging, prosecuting, arresting, harassing, questioning, intimidating, or apprehending” Sang pending an inter partes hearing.
Governor Sang’s lawyers were required to serve their application to respondents within two weeks.
Lawyer Zephanus Yego told the magistrate any proceedings before her court would amount to disobedience of orders by a superior court.
State counsel Victor Mule dismissed Yego’s application saying it had no legal basis.
Mule pleaded with the court to allow the State prosecute its case with sources indicating that the county chief could face charges of incitement and causing malicious damage.
Earlier in the day, Kisumu Chief Magistrate Julius Ngar recused himself from the matter citing relations with Governor Sang which could amount to conflict of interest.
The Council of Governors (CoG) issued a statement expressing concern over Sang’s arrest urging security officials to handle the matter in accordance 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,” CoG Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya stated.
He also implored members of the public particularly Nandi residents to remain calm and detectives investigate the matter.
Dramatic scenes were witnessed at Kapsabet on Monday after Sang arrived at a police station accompanied by hundreds of supporters expressing solidarity with him.
The Governor arrived at the police station shortly after giving a public address where he denied reports that he had declined an invitation by detectives to shed light on his involvement in the invasion of a disputed piece of land where he led his supporters in uprooting a tea plantation.
Sang had said the disputed 4 acre piece of land was a public utility parcel meant for a plunge dip.