January 3, 2009.
REVOKE THE DRACONIAN MEDIA
like millions of Kenyans, Civil society, Church groups and other
stake holders, Mapambano Online was outraged at the signing of the
media bill by President Mwai Kibaki whom, despite having rigged
elections last December to install himself secretly as President, is
increasingly assuming draconian and dictatorial powers as he
continues to misrule the country under the Coalition government.
signing of the controversial Media bill into law last Friday and
against protests by millions of Kenyans, the Coalition government
has demonstrated that it is determined to drive Kenya’s
democratization process backwards and to roll back the gains of
struggle in the last four decades.
With the signing of the Bill, the Press has effectively been muzzled
by the government which will now be able to storm Media Houses to
demand to know the content of news before broadcast, attack or burn
Newspapers at will, control what Kenyans can be told through the
media, arrest journalists perceived to be “violating the law” in
relation to the Media Bill, control the free flow of information,
withdraw broadcasting and Newspaper licenses, give the Minister of
Internal security powers to act arbitrarily in cases of perceived
violations and, above all, subject millions of Kenyans to possible
arrests because of draconian conditions contained in the Media Bill.
The signing of the bill by President Mwai Kibaki is a sign that
Kenyans were right in voting out the Kibaki dictatorship before the
President and members of the Mount Kenya Mafia stole the vote to
return to power.
The view of Mapambano Online is that Kenyans should resist this Bill
through continued protests, statements to the media and other
actions possible in the situation because the Bill violates
fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kenyan people which are
enshrined in the Constitution especially the right to freedom of
Media Houses across the country should not relent in the struggle
against this Bill even though it has been signed into law by the
President who has failed to respond to several concerns by Kenyans
and stake holders alike to the effect that the draconian Bill is
retrogressive and should be abandoned.
Kibaki is effectively taking Kenya back to the days of the Moi
dictatorship and the question which has to be asked is why he is
doing so after rigging elections and plunging the country into deep
crisis which resulted in thousands of deaths of innocent Kenyans,
destruction of billions worth of property and creation of 350,000
Mapambano Online believes that by signing the bill into law,
President Mwai Kibaki and a clique of loyalists around him still
trying to wield power through the back door are living under
illusions that they can get away with anything.
The signing of the Bill by Kibaki should be used by all progressive
forces inside and outside Kenya to send strong signals to Kibaki and
company that Kenya does not belong to a tiny group of wealth
grabbers who believe that they can do anything and get away in the
name of governance. We urge both the Kenyan people and the Media to
disobey provisions in the bill because the bill violates the
Mapambano Online will continue to remain vocal especially on the
question of the controversial bill because it is illegal and
designed to intimidate both the Media and the Kenyan people into
submission as the country’s wealth is plundered by wealth grabbers
surrounding Kibaki. The Kenyan people should not relent until this
illegal bill is defeated because Kenya does not belong to a tiny
group of people who appear to be behind the bill and who are driven
by greed and narrow self interests that has seen them push the bill
since its inception.
Mapambano Editorial Board