28 August 2012

Kenya: Police Should Protect Miguna From Thuggery

Photo: Wambugu Kanyi/The Star
Former prime minister'’s adviser Miguna Miguna in Nyeri town with residents after promoting his book "Peeling Back the Mask."

MIGUNA Miguna, former adviser to the Prime Minister, is not an easy person to work with. He is stubborn, provocative and argumentative. But he is also a Kenyan whose fundamental rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression are guaranteed under the new constitution.

The state is not protecting those rights at present. Miguna has been travelling around Kenya promoting his book Peeling Back the Mask. In Kisumu, Nakuru, and Mombasa, rowdy youth disrupted his meetings. A small presence of police was not enough to protect Miguna from injury during scuffles.

This is absolutely wrong. Even if Miguna turned on Raila Odinga, he is still entitled to make his case. Which politician in Kenya has not switched allegiance in the past? The state has an obligation to protect Miguna, even if his problems are partly the result of his own intransigence.

His statements are not hate speech or criminal libel. He is legally entitled to say what he is saying. However the youths who disrupt his meetings are acting illegally. They are guilty of assault and causing a disturbance. The police should arrest these rowdy youths. Miguna should not be blocked by thuggery from continuing his book tour.

Quote of the day: "I love those who yearn for the impossible." - German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born on August 28, 1749

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