Friday, 31 July 2015


RAILA ON 1982 COUP ATTEMPT: “I was not involved in trying to overthrow President Moi’s government”
ROSG: You are the longest political detainee in independent Kenya. You spent eight-and-half-years in prison because you led an unsuccessful coup in 1982 against the government of Daniel arap Moi and you only owned up to staging the coup after Moi left office. What made you to want to overthrow President Moi?
RAILA: Did you see it as a kind of contradiction that a civilian would be accused of staging a military coup? It sounds ridiculous. That is how ridiculous African politics can be. The military don't take commands from civilians, but in Africa the impossible is possible. I was charged with treason, but they were not able to get evidence because there was none. And after six months of trying to cook up some evidence they failed. At first, they wanted to do some kangaroo trial, but when my friends in the UK collected money and hired a QC (Queen's Counsel) to come and take up my defense, all that so-called evidence they had gathered just melted into the thin air. And they had no other option than to enter a nolle prosequi.
ROSG: So you did not try to overthrow President Moi?
RAILA: I was not involved in trying to overthrow him.
(Admin note: "nolle prosequi" is legal term of art and a Latin legal phrase meaning "be unwilling to pursue", a phrase amounting to "do not prosecute". It is a phrase used in many common law criminal prosecution contexts to describe a prosecutor's decision to voluntarily discontinue criminal charges either before trial or before a verdict is rendered)

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