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SENATE STANDING ORDERS

An affront to lock media out of Matiang’i grilling

Lusaka should tell the public if he had approved the decision to kick out journalists.

In Summary
  • The CS had been ordered to appear before senators
  • Speaker Lusaka is obligated to ensure that House committees respect Standing Orders.
Senators Susan Kihika and Stewart Madzayo, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Senator Ledama Olekina after the Senate National Security committee hearing on August 19, 2020
Senators Susan Kihika and Stewart Madzayo, Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Senator Ledama Olekina after the Senate National Security committee hearing on August 19, 2020

Yesterday, journalists were kicked out of the Senate National Security committee grilling of Interior CS Fred Matiang’i.

The CS had been ordered to appear before senators to explain why three legislators were arrested on Monday, just before debate on the revenue allocation bill.

The decision by the Yusuf Haji-led committee to lock media out of a matter of national interest amounts to an affront to press freedom.

 

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka is obligated to ensure that House committees respect Standing Orders and do not deny the media opportunities to cover Senate discussions, especially when they are not of a sensitive security nature.

 

Article 118 (1) of the Constitution states, "Parliament shall conduct its business in an open manner and facilitate public participation." Article 118 (2) further states, "Parliament may not exclude the public, or any media, from any sitting unless in exceptional circumstances the relevant Speaker has determined that there are justifiable reasons for the exclusion."

Lusaka should tell the public if he had approved the committee's decision and what the justification was.

It is such incidents that remind Kenyans of the dark Moi days when state officials got away with impunity, arrested, tortured and disappeared people they considered enemies of the state.

 

Quote of the Day: “Did money give people a blind spot? Rob them of their hearing?”

Jacqueline Susann

The American writer was born on August 20, 1918.