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Reporting on opposition restricted in Kenya

In 2017, Kenya had a violent and controversial election. Though President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in officially in 2017, opposition leader Raila Odinga – who had contested his loss at the polls – took an unofficial oath in January 2018 to be ‘sworn in’ as the people’s President.

Kenya’s Attorney General, Githu Muigai, had said in December that Odinga’s alternative swearing-in ceremony would amount to treason.[1] The Kenyan Communications Authority took Citizen, NTV, and KTN TV stations off air to prevent their planned broadcast of Odinga’s ‘swearing in’.[2] The shutdown lasted for several days.

The Kenyan government had previously deported opposition figure Miguna Miguna for his role in the swearing-in ceremony. The High Court ruled the deportation was illegal, and ordered the government to facilitate his return. Covering Miguna’s return from Canada in March, the General Service Unit assaulted journalists Stephen Letoo, Robert Gichira, and Sophia Wanuna, kicking them, beating them, and damaging their equipment.[3]

 

 

[1] Al Jazeera, ‘Raila Odinga “sworn in” as Kenya’s people’s president’, 30 January 2018, available at  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/kenya-tv-networks-gagged-odinga-inauguration-180130081747894.html

[2] ARTICLE 19, Kenya: Media Shutdown Ahead of Odinga ‘Swearing In’ Ceremony, 31 January 2018, available at https://www.article19.org/blog/resources/kenya-media-shutdown-ahead-odinga-swearing-ceremony/

[3] ARTICLE 19, Kenya: Attack on Journalists Adds to Concerns for Press Freedom, 28 March 2018, available at https://www.article19.org/blog/resources/kenya-attack-journalists-adds-concerns-press-freedom/

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