Senator Johnson Sakaja pleads guilty to breaching curfew rules, to pay Sh15,000 fine

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Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has pleaded guilty of breaking Covid-19 rules before an open court in Kasarani, Nairobi, this morning.
Chief Magistrate Roseline Oganyo ordered Sakaja to pay Sh15,000 fine or in default serve three months in prison after being found guilty in the Saturday morning incident.
The maximum sentence for the offence is Sh20, 000 or six months in jail.
Sakaja is accused of flouting the curfew rules after he was found drinking with friends at 1 am, four hours past the 9 pm-4 am curfew imposed by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The State prosecutor argued that the court should consider a harsh penalty against the senator in order to send a message to political leaders that the rules were not made for “small persons but are meant for all of us.”
“The Senator is one of the persons who has championed for the rules and he should have been the first person to comply with the rules. Instead of condemning the media who are doing good work in highlighting what is going on,” he said.
However, his lawyers led by John Khaminwa argued that the sentence by the court should be lenient since he had shown a good gesture by resigning from the chairmanship of SenateAd-hoc committee on Covid-19 Response, therefore a harsh punishment should not be meted against him.
Senator Sakaja was forced to resign from a Senate committee on Monday following his arrest in a bar past curfew hours. His resignation followed a public uproar over impunity by politicians flouting health regulations.
Sakaja is alleged to have engaged the police in a scuffle and even threatened to have them transferred after he was caught drinking past midnight against the curfew rule.
The incident would have passed quietly had he not caused a commotion since the police officers had initially begged him to leave the premise, another illustration of how the mighty caught on the wrong side of the law are treated with kid gloves.
On Monday, Sakaja emerged from his hiding and admitted breaking the same rules his committee would be keen to enforce to help in the fight against the Covid-19.
“I was on the wrong and I am sorry. I wish to state that I have resigned from the committee that I have been chairing and have notified the Speaker of the same with the aim of setting a good example,” said Sakaja.
“I was outside my house past 9 pm, which is after curfew hours. It is regrettable, but all of us make mistakes. I will be abiding by the law, no one is above the law. I have paid the cash bail and will appear before the court and the entire course of law will be followed,” he added after recording a statement at Kilimani Police Station.
The ruling party legislator denied claims that he threatened police officers with transfers following the night-club arrest.
“I did not threaten anyone; I have no powers to transfer anyone, it is just that a lot of things happened, they even punched me. If it was just about being outside after 9 pm, that is okay, but the rest… let’s just wait,” he added.
The blatant violation of the set regulations by the senator mirrors several other incidents by politicians from across the country, who continue to hold public rallies and gatherings despite the ban currently in place, and with the surging number of infections from the viral disease.

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