Kenyan lawmaker Mathew Lempurkel is due in court again today after being arrested over the weekend on suspicion of inciting violence. The arrest comes after he is alleged to have urged people to take land away from white farmers.
For the last few months the drought affecting Laikipia has led to heavily armed herders forcing their way into private ranches in search of pasture for their livestock.
These invasions have turned violent with former British army officer Tristan Voorspuy murdered and Italian author and conservationist Kuki Gallman shot and injured.
Kenya’s police chief Joseph Boinnet later told Capital FM radio that Lempurkel had been arrested on Saturday for “inflammatory remarks calculated to stir up racist and ethnic hatred”.
Several Kenyan news organisations have alsoreported that NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga was at the meeting where the remarks were made.
Laikipia County Commander Simon Kipkeu said: “No one is above the law and there is no way the lawmaker can urge residents to invade private ranches in the area. The Constitution is very clear that every member of the public has the right to own land anywhere in the county.”
In March, Lempurkel was arrested and charged with inciting violence following the killing of Mr Voorspuy. However the case was dismissed when the prosecution told the court that it had not managed to gather enough evidence to implicate the MP.
While some have blamed the drought for the invasions, others have pointed to a growing anger over historical land injustices in the region which has enormous tracts of land owned by white settlers and Kenyan elites.