Home / Free Speech / Robert Alai to be charged with improper use of licensed telecommunication systems
Kenyan Blogger Robert Alai
Kenyan Blogger Robert Alai (image source BBC)

Robert Alai to be charged with improper use of licensed telecommunication systems

Blogger Robert Alai is set to appear in court to answer charges of improper use of licensed telecommunication system.

Alai is accused of committing a crime when he made a comment to the effect that the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) CEO Halakhe Waqo lacks proper academic documents. The charge reads that

On the 18th day of November at unknown place within the Republic of Kenya, using Twitter account RobertAlai @RobertAlai posted “How do you expect EACC to arrest anyone for corruption when its head (Waqo) used a forged UON degree certificate to get into office” knowing it to be false and intended to cause annoyance to the said Halakhe D. Waqo.

This is not the first case that Robert Alai is facing the law using the same charge, Section 29 of the Kenya Information and Communications (KICA) Act 2009. The Act says;  

29. A person who by means of a licensed telecommunication system (a) sends a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or (b) sends a message that he knows to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another person commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both.

  Alai charge sheet In August 2012, he had an altercation with the then Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua, which led to his arrest, brief detention and charged under section 29 of the Kenya Information and Communication Act , 2009, for sending abusive and annoying messages. In March 2013, Alai was summoned and questioned by detectives after a series of tweets regarding Francis Kimemia, the then head of Civil Service and former Secretary to the Cabinet and later charged in court for causing annoyance to Mr. Kimemia, which a crime under the same section 29 of the same Act. Alai was expecting this charge by yesterday,  

While he has made many comments on the EACC, some notable ones are

 

 

 


While Alai is expected to go before a court tomorrow, it is likely that the case will drag for long considering that his other cases have yet to be heard. This could be a blessing for all his three cases and others also charged with the same crime.

Geoffrey Andare who was also charged with the same crime moved to court to file a counter suit, challenging the constitutionality of the section in the law.

Web developer challenges constitutionality of infamous charge ‘misuse of licenced telecommunication equipment’

His case comes up for hearing before Justice Mumbi Ngugi on 28th January 2015. A positive outcome from his case will free Alai and many other bloggers, facing this unconstitutional charge, which infringes on the freedom of speech.

Other cases with the same charge are

Nakuru journalist charged with misuse of licensed telecommunication equipment

Patrick Safari aka ‘Modern Corps’ arrested and charged for ‘annoying tweet’

While intimidation using this charge has seen some online users also being questioned using the same charge

Journalist Wahome Thuku arrested for allegedly defaming Kabando wa Kabando

 

About shitemi khamadi

Shitemi is the Kenya Monitor Managing Editor. He trains journalists on basics of journalism, storytelling, conflict sensitive journalism and devolution.

4 comments

  1. fantastic usage of terminology in the piece, it really
    did help when i was surfing around

  2. Inside the top five of my favourite posts, thankyou!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *