9 February 2018

Kenya: Canada Urges State to Respect Law, Freedom of Press

Photo: Evans Habil/Daily Nation
Lawyer Miguna Miguna.

The Canadian government has expressed concern over human rights violations in Kenya, including the television shutdown and crackdown on opposition leaders.

It said a free media and respect of the law are essential in a democracy.

OPPOSITION LEADERS

Several opposition politicians have been arrested over the January 30 Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s ‘swearing-in’.

Lawyer Miguna Miguna was arrested over the matter and detained for five days. He was later deported, despite court orders to release him on bond.

The Canadian High Commission had earlier written to the Foreign Affairs ministry expressing concern over the government’s handling of Mr Miguna.

TV SHUTDOWN

The government also shut down four television stations on January 30, following the live broadcast of the Nasa ‘swearing-in’ ceremony at Uhuru Park, Nairobi.

The Editors’ Guild had earlier said that media houses were warned against live coverage of the event.

Activist Okiya Omtatah sued over the shutdown and obtained an order on February 1 suspending the government directive to switch off the television stations.

But he was barred from serving the order at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

Several countries, civil society organisations and media houses urged the government to obey court orders and restore broadcast.

Broadcast of NTV and KTN News was restored on Monday, while that of Citizen TV and Inooro TV was restored on Thursday.

LAW

In a statement issued on Wednesday on its website, Global Affairs Canada urged the Kenya government to uphold the law.

“As a friend to Kenya, Canada is deeply concerned by some of the Government of Kenya’s recent actions, including the unlawful detention of opposition members without due process or access to counsel, and the shutdown of, and restrictions on, certain media outlets.

“We urge the Government of Kenya to uphold its Constitution, to allow freedom of expression and to respect court orders, including those that order the release of those granted bail,” the statement says.

Canada also urged Kenyans to unite and peacefully solve their differences‎.

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