- Category: Africa
- Written by Reuters
A government minister pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that he had incited violence in a dispute over land and water in Kenyaâ€™s coastal region in which over 100 people have been killed, but was later sacked from the Cabinet anyway.
The scale and intensity of the unrest over the past month has left many Kenyans convinced it was instigated for political reasons and has raised fears of serious tribal unrest ahead of elections next March.
More than 100 people have been shot, hacked and burnt to death as the Pokomo and Orma tribes have fought one another in a deadly dispute over Orma-owned cattle grazing on land the Pokomo say is theirs.
After pleading not guilty, Assistant Livestock Minister Dhadho Godana was freed on bail. He is due to reappear in court on October 2 and magistrate Lucy Nyambura ordered Godana to refrain from making any public comments about the violence.
Godana, whose constituency is located in the Tana Delta where the violence erupted, had accused a political rival, acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji, of whipping up the unrest, according to local media.
President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga sacked Godana from the cabinet later on Wednesday.
â€œFollowing investigations that have linked ... Godana with violence that has rocked the Tana River Delta, I have today in consultations with ... Odinga relieved ... Godana of his duties as Assistant Minister,â€ Kibaki said in a statement.
The charge sheet said that Godana, â€œwithout lawful excuse, uttered words to the effect that â€˜I am sure ... that you are yet to see more if Haji is not sacked from that docket [his security ministry]â€™ - words which were meant to cause deaths or physical injury to residents of Tana.â€”Reuters