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Government defends 'Nation' journalist on the story linked to his arrest

By Joseph Sosi | June 21st 2017

The Government has sided with the story that sparked controversy in the media and linked with the arrest of journalist Walter Menya who a magistrate released yesterday after two days in police cells.

Government spokesperson Erick Kiraithe in an interview at a local TV station on Wednesday said he could not agree with those linking the arrest of the editor with the article.

“What Walter Menya wrote, I have read and I can tell you that it doesn’t amount to crime,” said Mr Kiraithe.

He said he could not agree with reports that the story had led to the arrest of Mr Menya who Magistrate Marhta Mutuku released unconditionally saying he could not be held without charges as the prosecution had failed to produce evidence on the progress of investigations.

The journalist’s arrest was surrounded by claims of attempts to solicit for a bribe over a story and the public prosecution directorate’s application to the court to have Menya released on a personal bond were thwarted by lawyer James Orengo, Nelson Havi and Apolo Mboya on grounds that there were no charges against Menya.

The article published on Sunday featured senior government officials being directly involved in a lobby supporting president Uhuru Kenyatta’s reelection and is registered as Friends of Jubilee Foundation.

Mr Kiraithe during the interview defended the involvement of Cabinet Secretaries and their CSs in campaigns for the President’s bid for a second term saying the CSs and Principal Secretaries are going out to tell the people what they have done insisting that the trend would continue.

Responding to a query on why he was not using his capacity as the government spokesperson to highlight what the government has done, Mr Kiraithe replied,

“Initially ministers used to have press conferences in Nairobi, now they are going to the village,”

On the journalist’s case, the court directed that he appears in court in a week’s time.

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