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Muslim clerics did not ban movies, says PC

By | April 27th 2010

By David Ochami and Cyrus Ombati

The North Eastern Provincial Commissioner James Ole Serian has denied reports that Muslim clerics have banned movie theatres and DSTV channels in Mandera town.

Ole Serian said that an "erroneous report" was started Monday evening and circulated in the print and electronic press that "Muslim sheikhs closed DSTV and video shows in Mandera."

The PC said the reports were not factual because they attributed improper information to innocent people.

He made the clarification amid a campaign in some FM radio stations to rally Christians against the Proposed Draft Constitution over "new" evidence of Muslim intolerance to secular lifestyle.

Ole Serian said "DSTV has not been banned" adding that authorities suspended unauthorised theatres and shows on security grounds.

He said the ban was imposed by the Mandera District Security and Intelligence Committee (DSIC) following consultations last year.

"The truth is that the Mandera District Security Committee met in September, last year, and resolved to close down all cinema halls that show immoral videos and those who hide criminals, aliens, carjackers and those that allow children to watch movies during school time and those which are not licensed.

"It is not the sheikhs who banned the shows but the DSIC."

Muslim leadership in Nairobi too denied the reports they had banned DSTV terming the reports misleading. Supkem Secretary General Adan Wachu said they have no such powers.

Wachu said the reports were misleading aimed at raising emotions ahead of the referendum on the draft constitution. He added that the decision was made by the local security committee and the council has no business in it.

"We cannot have mandate and powers to ban DSTV and what happened in Mandera was a decision by the security committee to ban video shows that operate illegally," said Wachu.

He said they believe in freedom assembly as long as it does not affect others’ existence peacefully.

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