Ex-cult leader charged over Kenyan slum clashes

Nairobi, Kenya - A Kenyan court on Wednesday charged a parliamentary candidate, who is also the former leader of an outlawed cult, with inciting violence after clashes killed three people in a Nairobi slum.

Fighting erupted on Sunday when police moved to ease tensions between two gangs in the massive Kibera slum where Ndura Waruinge planned to hold a political rally to drum up support for his parliamentary bid at next year's election.

Waruinge was once leader of the feared Mungiki sect and now wants to represent Kibera in parliament. The slum is in the constituency of Raila Odinga, a key opposition politician who has his eye on the presidency of the east African country.

"I am not guilty of the charges," Waruinge told Senior Principal Magistrate Rosemelle Mutoka when the charges of incitement to violence and preparing to commit a felony were read out to him in court.

Mutoka ordered him to remain in custody until Thursday when a ruling was expected on whether to release him on bond.

Odinga has accused the government of provoking the riots, saying President Mwai Kibaki was aware of the plan.

The government has denied any hand in the clashes.

Odinga is revered by many in his Luo tribe, Kenya's third-largest, while both Waruinge and Kibaki belong to the Kikuyu, the country's largest.

The two communities have held decades-long rivalries over political spoils stretching back to Kenya's independence from Britain in 1963.

Waruinge once led the outlawed Mungiki that has in the past been associated with murder, extortion and racketeering, usually in the slum areas.