Mungiki members set free

Nyeri, Kenya - A Nyeri court has discharged 43 Mungiki members on condition that they keep peace for eight months.

After convicting the 43 for being members of the outlawed sect last week, Nyeri Senior Resident Magistrate, Mrs Elizabeth Juma-Osoro, ordered them to ensure their conduct was good within the stipulated time or they face a jail term.

The magistrate invoked Section 35(1) (a) of the Constitution to grant the adherents the conditional discharge after describing their probation report as "impressive".

The probation report on all the adherents proved that they were first offenders.

The court last week convicted the 43 and ordered them to report to a probation officer who was to prepare a report before their sentencing. The adherents walked to their freedom, knowing that any breach of law within the granted eight months would land them in jail.

They had been arrested on suspicion of being members of the Mungiki while they knew or had reason to know the same as an outlawed sect.

They were arrested on June 5, last year, at Karaba village of Mukurweini division.

They were at the burial of 60-year-old Felicious Wangui, who police told the court, was a suspected founder member of the sect.

While convicting the adherents, the court said their behaviour at the graveside, where they sniffed tobacco as they jumped in and out of the grave, betrayed them.

The court further said the option by the 43 to remain silent when they were placed on their defence had left the court with no option but to enter a conviction, based on the evidence of the five police officers that testified during their trial.