By Lenox Sengre and Brian Muchiri.
Starehe Member of Parliament Charles Njagua, popularly known as Jaguar, was on Wednesday morning freed on a Ksh500, 000 cash bail by the Milimani Law Courts.
The MP, who was arraigned before Principal Magistrate Francis Andayi, is accused of uttering inflammatory remarks against Tanzanian and Ugandan traders.
Jaguar denied incitement to violence charge pressed against him.
The legislator is expected back in court on September 4, when the case will be heard.
Until his release, Jaguar had spent seven days detained at the Kileleshwa Police Station.
On Wednesday morning, tens of the youthful parliamentarian’s supporters trooped to Milimani Law Courts demanding his release. Security was, consequently, beefed up, with anti-riot police deployed to the area to manage the group.
On June 24, Jaguar was recorded on tape inciting Nairobi traders against Ugandan and Tanzanian traders, saying the foreigners working in Kenya have dominated the city markets, and, as a result, have rendered many Nairobi dwellers jobless.
“If you visit our markets, you would realise they have been taken over by Tanzanian and Ugandan traders. It is time we say: ‘Enough is enough’! We give the Kenyan authorities 24 hours to send the foreign traders away. If they don’t, we – personally — will beat them up and kick them out. We fear nobody,” Jaguar was recorded as saying in the viral video clip.
His remarks sparked a diplomatic row between Kenya and Tanzania, with the Tanzanian Government urging the Kenyan State to take stern action against the lawmaker.
Interior Cabinet Secretary, Dr Fred Matiang’i, was among the high-ranking government officials who moved in swiftly to manage the then-ballooning tiff.
Matiang’i warned that if Jaguar doesn’t refrain from making “reckless remarks that paint Kenya in bad light”, then the country’s law enforcement agents would be left with no choice but to deal “ruthlessly” with the parliamentarian.
“We won’t allow him to plunge Kenya into loggerheads with other countries in the region, particularly East Africa. His Monday [June 24] remarks risk throwing the country into diplomatic row with its neighbours. Jaguar owes Kenyans an apology for subjecting them to regional anger.”
Matiang’i said he suspected Jaguar made the remarks to “gain political mileage”.
Asserting his authority, the Interior minister said: “Any leader who makes reckless statements that put Kenya at loggerheads with her neighbours will face the full wrath of the law.”
The CS pledged the government’s support toward regional integration.