Kenyan police have arrested politician Peter Gichira and charged him with attempted suicide.
Gichira, an independent Kenyan politician, was one of eight candidates who failed to meet the criteria to contest the August 8th election in Kenya, according to the BBC.
According to police, two officers rescued and arrested Gichira Saturday, after he broke a window pane and attempted to jump from the sixth floor of Anniversary Towers in Nairobi.
Police boss Japheth Koome says, “He broke a window and tried to jump from the sixth floor of the building after he was informed he would not be cleared to present his papers for the presidency as an independent candidate.”
Gichira was charged with destroying property and creating a disturbance. However, Gichira denies the charges and pleaded not guilty Monday, when he was arraigned before a court in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
Afterward, he was granted bail for the sum of $2,000.
Suicide, a Crime
Suicide was criminalized in Kenya during the British colonial period, and it remains a crime under the country’s penal code, carrying a jail term of up to six years.
Activists have described the law as archaic and degrading, and while it has since been decriminalized in Britain, it remains a crime in many African countries, including Kenya and Nigeria.
Gichira’s campaign manager, David Muriuki, however, described the suicide charge as a fabrication and maintains his boss is being targeted by the electoral commission, after he successfully secured a court order quashing some of the restrictive rules set by the commission on independent presidential candidates.
Kenya’s Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC), though, says Gichira was disqualified from the race because he failed to obtain the minimum 2,000 signatures from people not affiliated to any party in at least 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties.
Political observers say the August 8th Kenyan general elections is largely expected to be a two-person horse race between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party and serial contender Raila Odinga of the opposition party National Super Alliance (NASA), which is a coalition of smaller parties.
In 2007, at least 1,000 people lost their lives in the aftermath of an orgy of violence that greeted a much-disputed general election result.
The violence prompted condemnation from the international community and led to a range of reforms. Elections in 2013 were, however, relatively peaceful and held with no major incidence.