Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi at the Mombasa Court in Mombasa County on Monday 24th April 2017. He was arrested during the ODM Party Nominations. [Photo/Kelvin Karani/Standard]
Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi has been charged with 10 criminal counts including disruption, destruction of polling materials, and obstructing polling officials during the Saturday chaotic ODM primaries.
Mr Mwinyi was arrested on Saturday after police claimed he stormed polling centres with supporters to disrupt voting. The results for the primary have not been declared.
On Monday, the MP who was freed on bond on Sunday, did not plead to the charges after his lawyers raised objections to the indictment by arguing that what happened during the primaries was an internal matter that should be solved internally and should not have been taken to court.
The lawyers also argued that the party, which is the complainant in the matter, had not exhausted internal dispute resolution mechanisms and that having the matter in court was an abuse of the Judiciary.
The legislator’s supporters jammed the court room.
His lawyers, Jared Magolo, Michael Oloo, and Mohamed Khatib, accused ODM of using the Director of Public Prosecutions to abuse the legal process since the party has a constitution with mechanisms to deal with internal disputes such as the one the MP was accused of.
“It is wrong for ODM, which is the complainant in the case, to use the court process before extinguishing the fire in its own house. The party has its own internal dispute resolution mechanism that it should utilise before settling for the judicial process,” said Mr Khatib.
Mwinyi asked the court to defer the plea for a month to allow him to face the party’s disciplinary committee.