An artiste accused of fuelling hatred between two local communities following actions taken by Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu regarding charcoal ban will have to part with Sh700,000 to secure his release.
Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi issued the directive Tuesday when John Gichiri Njau appeared before him and pleaded not guilty to three counts of the offence of ethnic contempt.
He is supposed to pay the said money as the cash bail for his release before trial or remain remanded if he does not afford to deposit that amount.
Prosecution told court that words used in his newly released controversial song were calculated to stir ethnic hatred against Kamba and Kikuyu communities.
The offensive words which are in Kikuyu language were loudly read before court and then translated into English.
"On unknown dates 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 refrain from purchasing charcoal from their 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 in a bid to end charcoal trade in the region due to devastating effects to the environment.
On February 27, a Toyota Probox was a burnt to ashes in Mwingi after residents blocked it following claims that it was transporting charcoal.
On the same day, some youths also blocked the Nairobi-Naivasha highway, deflated tyres of vehicles causing a huge traffic jam.
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.
Hearing kicks off on April 11.