Lawyers in push for sacking of Matiang'i for shutting down media over Raila's ‘swearing-in’

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Lawyers have started a fresh battle to oust Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i over the controversial shutdown of three television stations in January.

In the suit filed at the Milimani High Court, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) also wants ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru and Communications Authority of Kenya boss Francis Wangusi declared unfit to continue holding public office, for violating the constitutional provision on access to information.

Through lawyer Daniel Musyoka, LSK argued that Dr Matiang'i, Mr Mucheru and Mr Wangusi deliberately shut down the television stations as punishment for airing live the swearing-in of Raila Odinga as the people’s president on January 30 and must take full responsibility for their illegal actions.

“The three officials abused their power and authority and are individually liable for violating the Constitution which they swore to uphold and protect,” said Mr Musyoka.

According to the lawyer, there was no state of emergency to warrant the Government shutdown of KTN News, Citizen TV and NTV given that the country was not at war. The media houses just did their part by informing the public of events taking place on January 30, he said.

LSK stated that the decision to sue the three was to ensure Government respects the Constitution and prevent a similar thing from happening in future.

Musyoka submitted that media houses have a right to broadcast under Article 34 of the Constitution and are only subject to licensing procedures from the Government but not interference with their broadcasting rights.