NAIROBI. — Three Kenyan TV stations will stay off the air indefinitely as the government investigates an illegal “swearing in” of opposition leader Raila Odinga, the interior minister said yesterday, following the symbolic but direct challenge to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Independently owned Citizen TV and Radio, KTN News and NTV were switched off on Tuesday after they transmitted live coverage of an opposition ceremony to “swear in” Odinga into office.
Fred Matiang’i, who is also the minister in charge of security, accused some elements in the media of facilitating the illegal act, putting lives of thousands of Kenyans at risk.
“The government took a decision to shut down the concerned media houses, until further notice, as it launches a full investigation,” he told a news conference.
Odinga, whose supporters say he is Kenya’s legitimate leader and Kenyatta’s election was neither free nor fair, took a symbolic presidential oath at the ceremony.
Matiang’i said the opposition event was an attempt to subvert and overthrow the legally constituted government, adding they were also investigating the “swearing in”.
“The investigations will extend to co-conspirators and facilitators,” he said, promising appropriate legal action against those found culpable.
Police later arrested Tom Kajwang, an opposition lawmaker who administered Odinga’s “oath of office”, James Orengo, an opposition senator, told Reuters.
Kajwang, who represents a constituency in Nairobi and is a lawyer by profession, turned up at the opposition gathering in a white wig and a black robe, mimicking the official robes the chief justice wears when inaugurating a president.
Earlier, executives in the media industry accused the government of keeping them in the dark over the switch-off of their broadcast stations.
“There was no comment from the government when the action was taken, and there’s been none since,” said Wachira Waruru, managing director of Royal Media Services, which owns Citizen TV and Radio. — Reuters.
Article Source: The Herald