Nairobi, March 27, 2020
The Covid-19 Pandemic has ravaged the world so severely that our country Kenya has been forced to take unprecedented measures to protect its population. These measures include a 7pm-5am curfew starting today. The State made it clear that journalism, as part of licensed media, is an essential service hence media work shall be enabled to continue.
It is, therefore, with shock that we have learnt of police brutality against NTV journalist Peter Wainaina in Mombasa this afternoon. Mr. Wainaina was assaulted and blocked from performing his duty in full glare of the public. Luckily, this incident was caught on tape and the offending policeman is clearly identifiable. He is not an officer of the law. He is a criminal. We demand that he is immediately disarmed and prosecuted in a court of law. The public have a right to timely, accurate information hence journalists must be allowed to work. More so at this time when all are united in fighting Covid-19.
We expect firm and resolute action by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hillary Mutyambai and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Noordin Haji on this matter in fulfilment of numerous public pledges they have made previously to uphold the rule of law especially in regard to Article 34 of the Constitution of Kenya. Police have to be professional at all times including treating Kenyans with dignity. What we have witnessed as journalists is a rogue police action blind to the lived realities especially of the ordinary Kenyans.
For and on behalf of the Kenya Editors’ Guild.
CHURCHILL OTIENO PRESIDENT