Friday, December 12, 2008



DECEMBER 12 3008
By Sam Otieno

Police have arrested 100 civil society members and journalists in a bid to stop a peaceful demonstration outside Nyayo National stadium on Friday morning.

The arrests of Mars Group executive director Mwalimu Mati, Kiss 100 FM radio presenters Caroline Mutoko, Jalang’o and Larry Asego occurred shortly before President Kibaki delivered his Jamhuru day speech on Friday.

Others being held at Lang’ata police station are comedian and Q Fm presenter Walter Mong’are popularly known as Nyambane who was arrested as he attempted to present a petition to Kibaki at Nyayo stadium.

The move immediately prompted presidential guard to order journalists to restrict their movement by issuing a stern "No Movement" order.

The civil society and journalists donned in black T-shirts printed the words; "No tax for MPs No tax for Us, Uta do?" were bundled into a police vehicle and driven to Lang’ata police station where they were detained.

They were protesting against PMPs who passed the Kenya communications (Amendment) Bill, 2008, giving the Minister for Internal Security immense powers that include raiding and dismantling broadcasting equipment.

They were also protesting against the refusal by MPs to pay taxes.

If the President assents to the Communications Bill, then Security minister will have powers to send officers to television stations to destroy equipment and spy on journalists.

The Postal corporation employees will also open letters without authority of the courts.

The proposed law gives the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) responsibility to police broadcasting; determine content and programming, timing, manner and type of programmes to be broadcast.

The new CCK, to be made up of people hand-picked by Information Minister, will have powers to license and regulate broadcasting services, which could affect the freedom of radio and television stations and other electronic media outlets.