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‘Ikamba’ song musician pleads not guilty to ethnic contempt

A musician accused of spearheading hatred between two communities has pleaded not guilty to three counts of the offence of ethnic contempt.

Musician John Gichiri Njau was arrested after releasing the infamous ‘Ikamba’ song that mocked members of the Kamba community following a charcoal sale ban by Kitui governor Charity Ngilu.

He appeared before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi on Monday and was ordered to part with Sh 700,000 to secure his release. He is to pay the cash bail for his release before trial or remain remanded.

Prosecution told court that words used in the controversial song were calculated to stir ethnic hatred against Kamba and Kikiyu communities.

The offensive words which are in Kikuyu language were read before court and then translated into English.

“On unknown date at an unknown place within the republic of Kenya, jointly with other not before the court, while singing a song titled Ikamba uttered words which were intended to incite feeling of contempt against two communities,” prosecution said.


Court was told that he allegedly portrayed Kamba land as a place of starvation and that if people from Kikuyu community refrained from by purchasing charcoal from the region, they would definitely die of hunger.



The ban on cutting down trees in Kitui has been in force since 2014 but came up in the limelight last month when governor Ngilu vowed to have it enforced.

On February 27, a Toyota Probox was a burnt to ashes in Mwingi after residents blocked it following claims that it was transporting charcoal.

In revenge, some youths blocked the Nairobi-Naivasha highway, deflated tyres of vehicles causing a huge traffic jam in Limuru, Kiambu county.

Consequently, Ms Ngilu was summoned to appear before the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) for questioning after she was accused of inciting her community against the Kikuyu.


Although controversial, the song has attracted a huge following on social media since its release.

Kenya Film Classification Board Chief executive Ezekiel Mutua banned the sale and broadcast of the song.

The trial is set to kick off on April 11.