A man who was arrested for obstructing the President’s convoy in Mombasa has been described as a patriot by the courts.
Collins Ochieng Obado, 30, was arrested on Monday after he tried to catch the attention of President Uhuru on Mama Ngina Drive as the Head of State made his way to State House, Mombasa.
In addition to positioning himself along the road leading to State House, Mr Ochieng also a carried placard containing the portrait of Mr Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The placard read: “The Golden Handshake, Amani, Umoja, Upendo na Ushirikiano”.
However, as soon as Uhuru’s convoy approached, security officers misconstrued Ochieng’s intentions and pounced on him, bundled him in a police vehicle and locked him up in a cell.
Mr Ochieng, who had hoped to secure a job from the president, ended up spending his first three days of 2019 in police cells.
On Wednesday, he was arraigned before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Erick Mutunga and charged with the offence of creating disturbance in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace, contrary to section 95(1)(b) of the Penal Code.
When the charge was read, the Magistrate poked holes in the case and asked State Counsel Shakwila Ayekha if that amounted to an offence.
“What offence did the suspect commit by simply displaying a placard? What is wrong with what he was doing?” Mr Mutunga asked.
Mr Ayekha said at around 5 pm, the suspect was found trying to obstruct the convoy of the President without invitation.
“The suspect was trying to obstruct the President without invitation from State House security details. He was arrested and placed in cells awaiting to be charged with the offence of creating disturbance as per the law,” the prosecutor said.
In mitigation, Mr Ochieng stated that he was only looking for an opportunity to show President Uhuru a portrait with a view to securing a job.
“I am still young, energetic and jobless so I don’t want to waste my time stealing from people or engaging any criminal activity. I wanted him (President Kenyatta) to see the portrait so that from it he can help me to find a better job,” he said amid laughter from a fully packed court.
“I don’t want to be a beggar in the street because I am still energetic and vibrant. I need a job so that I can sustain myself, my family members and the entire society, that is why I displayed the placard to attract the attention of the President,” he added.
In his ruling, the Magistrate described Mr Ochieng as a patriotic Kenyan who was spreading peace and that he had not committed an offence by displaying the placard which contained a message of peace.
“The suspect was spreading a message of unity, the court therefore discharges him (the suspect) and order that he be released unconditionally,” Mr Mutunga ruled.
The court also ordered that the placard, which was produced as an exhibit, be released to the suspect forthwith.