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In volatile Kenya, MP and former senator detained over hate speech allegations

Kenyan police detained a lawmaker from the ruling party and a former opposition senator on Monday over allegations of hate speech, a spokesman for the interior ministry said.

Reported instance of hate speech have risen sharply since Sept. 1, when the Supreme Court annulled the results of last month’s presidential election.

The surprise ruling, the first of its kind in Africa, voided the win of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, citing irregularities in the tallying process.

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“Moses Kuria, a member of parliament and Johnson Muthama, a former senator, have been arrested on hate speech allegations,” ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said by phone.

Njoka did not give details on why the two politicians had been arrested, and police did not respond to queries.

Last week, Kuria gave a public speech calling for a “manhunt” for supporters of veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, who had greeted the court ruling with jubilation.

Two witnesses described in a roadblock set up the next day near where Kuria gave his speech, where ruling party supporters checked the ethnicity of passengers in vehicles to see if they might be opposition supporters.

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Politics in Kenya often follows ethnic lines.

On Sunday, Muthama, a former senator for the opposition Wiper party, gave a speech peppered with insults aimed at Kenyatta.

“When you (Uhuru) are drinking your alcohol, when you are getting drunk, stop thinking we are children of a monkey,” Muthama said according to a recording posted on YouTube.

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