Kibaki, Raila remain tight-lipped as journalists are arrested

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga remained tight-lipped as protests over a draconian media law passed by Parliament continued.

Kibaki and Raila, the joint drivers of the Coalition Government, and
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka watched from the comfort of their VIP
dais as presidential guards reigned kicks and blows on a radio
presenter at the Nyayo Stadium.

When the three leaders rose to speak, but none of them mentioned a word about the Kenya Communications (amendment) Bill 2008.

Walter Mong'are alias Nyambane had just arrived at the stadium donning
a prisoner's uniform and wanted to present a petition to the President
not to sign the bad law.

Members of the public heckled policemen and presidential guards as they whisked Nyambane out of the stadium.

But while they reminded Kenyans of the struggle 45 years ago to make
Kenya a free state, officers harassed journalists under the
presidential dais mindless of the big day — the symbol of freedom that
Kenyans had gathered to celebrate.

Former Nominated MP Njoki Ndungu trashed the draconian media law as unconstitutional'.

Njoki advised the media to move to court to quash the clauses that
bestow overwhelming powers on the Internal Security Minister and the
Communication Commission of Kenya.

"The court has the power to invalidate the sections which are unconstitutional," said Njoki.

Lands Minister James Orengo said there was need to review the draconian Bill.

He said there were many avenues to address the concerns of the media owners before the President assents the Bill.


Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba condemned the arrest of journalists, saying it signalled the return of repression in the country.

Local Government Assistant Minister Njeru Githae said, if put in the
wrong hands, the Bill was draconian but added the Bill would only put
restrictions to those who do not want to remain professionals.

Cherengany MP Joseph Kutuny accused Information Minister Samuel Poghisio of habouring a hidden agenda against the media.

He condemned the arrest of journalists, terming the Government action dictatorial.

But Cabinet Minister Noah Wekesa expressed support for the Bill, saying it was meant to restore order in the media.

Former Subukia MP Koigi wa Wamwere asked the President to shelve the Bill to pave way for more debate on it.

By Standard On Saturday Team

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