The Star (Nairobi)

10 October 2012

Kenya: Police Must Find Hard Evidence

editorial

THE police have started a crackdown on the Mombasa Republican Council at the Coast. The crackdown appears to be a response to the suicide attack by four panga wielding MRC supporters on Fisheries minister Amason Kingi last Thursday.

Terrorism is unacceptable. The state is duty bound to maintain law and order, and to protect the lives and property of its citizens. The police must seek to prevent terrorist attacks and arrest those responsible for them.

But it is disturbing that possession of pamphlets seem to be the main evidence against those arrested so far.The pamphlets declare Pwani si Kenya ( the coast is not Kenya).

The constitutional right of freedom of expression specifically excludes hate speech and incitement to violence. But peaceful lobbying for independence at the Coast is not unconstitutional.

The slogan Pwani si Kenya is in itself no worse than the propaganda of the Scottish National Party, or the chants of Barcelona football supporters.

The police have to be careful not to arrest MRC supporters only for the case to be discharged for lack of evidence. The police should only arrest MRC supporters where there is clear evidence that they have been involved in terrorist activities.

Quote of the day: "I have a great love and respect for religion, great love and respect for atheism. What I hate is agnosticism, people who do not choose." - Actor and director Orson Welles died on October 10, 1985

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