Published On: Thu, Feb 1st, 2018

Govt Crackdown – Arrests Could Spell Doom

Rt. Hon Raila Amolo Odinga sworn in as President of the People’s Republic of Kenya.

Judge TJ Kajwang who administered the Swearing in Oath on Tuesday, was picked up by Police, followed by NTV Journalist Linus Kaikai and NRM self-styled General and Lawyer Dr. Miguna Miguna. (Writes topi Lyambila). The crackdown follows a terse presser by Interior Security CS Dr. Matiangi who declared the Government was not making threats but taking action on all those deemed to have facilitated the Swearing in of Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga as President of the People’s Republic of Kenya.

The Government, Dr. Matiangi said had shut down the top TV Stations of NTV, KTN and Citizen on Tuesday for their part in airing LIVE the ceremony held at UHURU Park in Nairobi’s CBD.  The event was attended by probably the largest crowd ever seen at the venue, with some observers putting the number at over 1 million people.

NTV’s Kaikai was hauled in after he, acting as the Chairman of the Writers Guild penned a hard-hitting statement condemning the attempt by Government to muzzle the media over the coverage of  Raila’s inauguration which the Government declared unconstitutional and highly treasonable.

Word around Nairobi has it that the security forces are preparing to arrest the NASA principals including Inaugural President Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, a move that many observers believe is tantamount to cause mayhem in the country should it be followed through.

Below is the full statement by Linus Kaikai that has since put him in hot soup.

STATEMENT ON DIRECT THREATS BY JUBILEE GOVERNMENT AGAINST THE MEDIA – KENYA EDITORS GUILD.

The Kenya Editors’ Guild is gravely alarmed over a developing trend by the government to gag or threaten the media over coverage of the current political events in the country.
We have just learnt today that on Friday last week, a section of media managers and select editors from the main media houses were quietly summoned to a meeting at the State House, Nairobi, the objectives which were unknown. But the proceedings should be clear cause for alarm to the media and the public.
The brief meeting attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru and AG Githu Muigai did not bode well for the freedom of expression and press in the country.
At the meeting, President Kenyatta expressly threatened to shut down and revoke the licences of any media house that would broadcast live the planned purported swearing in of NASA leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka on Tuesday. That direct threat has subsequently been echoed, off record by other senior members of government.
The Guild is appalled by the details of the meeting which was  held under an atmosphere of intimidation for the media representatives present. Chairman of the Media Owners Association Hannington Gaya this evening confirmed the tone of the meeting as a ‘dressing down’ in which the media was, quote; ‘read the riot act.’  This brazen threat is intended to intimidate the media from performing its rightful role of informing the public on matters affecting them.
We would like to state it with all the clarity we can that the media is not an actor in the ongoing contest between Jubilee and NASA over the outcome of the last General Election. The Media remains a mere messenger and a chronicler of any events happening in our country. Our country’s vibrant media is made up of competent professionals in journalists and editors that continue to make sound decisions on what constitutes news, in public interest.
Consequently, the Editors Guild condemns and rejects the threats and purported instructions issued at the State House on Friday. We call on all media houses and journalists to carry on their work diligently and to report impartially on all matters of public interest as they have always done. The government should also ensure that journalists are neither harmed nor intimidated as they perform their work on Tuesday and thereafter.
We would like to remind the government to respect the freedom of the media guaranteed in Article 34 of the Constitution and the right of the public to information (Article 35) and desist from outdated methods of repression and to also respect the Bill of Rights.
As the editors and journalists fraternity, we remain committed to professional ethics and credible editorial practices free from undue interference.  

Signed
Linus Kaikai
Chairman, Kenya Editors Guild

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