Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale was on Thursday, June 11, arrested for convening a political gathering at Mungusi Village in Shinyalu Constituency on Friday, June 5 in contravention of government’s anti-COVID-19 regulations.
On Wednesday, June 10, Kakamega Senior Resident Magistrate Erick Malesi issued a warrant of arrest against Khalwale after he failed to appear before DCI on June 8 for grilling over the said-illegality.
“Whereas Boni Khalwale has this day (June 10) been charged before this court that he failed to appear before DCI Kakamega South on June 8, 2020…, therefore, you (DCI-Kakamega South) are hereby commanded forthwith to apprehend the said-Boni Khalwale and bring him before this court to answer to the said-charge, and to be further dealt with according to the law on June 10, 2020,” said the senior principal magistrate in the order directed to the DCI chief in Kakamega South.
By the time the court was issuing the arrest warrant against the former lawmaker on Wednesday, Khalwale was at his home in Nairobi. His lawyer, Danstan Omari, said Khalwale couldn’t travel because of the COVID-19 transport regulations.
Nonetheless, on Thursday morning (June 11), Khalwale and Omari hopped onto a chopper and flew to Kakamega County, where the former legislator presented himself to Malinya Police Station, consequently leading to his detention.
Khalwale was, thereafter, arraigned at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kakamega, where he was freed on a Ksh50, 000 cash bail.
The former lawmaker was charged with “engaging in a prohibited gathering contrary to Rule 7(1) as read with Rule 11 of the Public Health (COVID-19 restriction of movement of persons and related measures) Rules 2020”.
The charge sheet against him read: “On June 5, 2020 at Mungusi Village in Mugomari Sub-Location, Ilesi Location at Kakamega East Sub-County, within Kakamega County, you, jointly with others not before court engaged in a prohibited public gathering during the restricted period by engaging in a public baraza.”
Khalwale’s lawyer, Danstan Omari, alleged that his client was also charged with hosting a party at his Malinya home and invited over 15 attendees, contrary to COVID-19 safety measures.
We couldn’t immediately verify that allegation, as we have in our possession the charge sheet for the first offence as documented in this article.
After being released by the courts at 4pm, Khalwale and Omari hopped onto the chopper they had travelled in, and flew back to Nairobi.
It remains unclear how Khalwale will attend the hearing of his case scheduled for Friday, June 12, which is only a day after he was charged. However, it is suspected that the hearing of the case would be conducted virtually.