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Educate Kenyans on rights, says Mutua

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 25 – Information Secretary Ezekiel Mutua has stressed the need for countrywide sensitisation on the Bill of Rights to enable everyone know their liberties as stipulated in the new constitution.

He says despite the passage of the new law, many people are not familiar with its contents and how it affects them.

He said being aware of its contents was crucial for the development and well being of the country.

"A constitution in itself is nothing if the implementation is not given attention and if we are to really get the benefit, then information flow is critical because it is the empowerment of people to realise the rest of the rights that are entrenched within the law particularly the bill of rights," he said.

The Bill of Rights in the new Constitution of Kenya gives guarantees for a wide range of Rights and fundamental freedoms.

In chapter four of the new constitution, the Bill of Rights, is the longest chapter as sets out the rights of all people and provides a framework for implementing them so that all Kenyans benefit from them.

It also establishes the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Bill of Rights further protects all the rights in the constitution like the rights to life, a fair trial, freedom of expression and to be free from torture, and the rights of people in custody.

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It also expands on some existing rights for example, it states expressly that life begins at conception and that abortion is prohibited.

It further sets out limited, exceptional circumstances in which abortions may be procured, (when the life or health of the mother is in danger, for instance).

It says that the right to freedom of expression does not give anyone a right to use hate speech.

The right to freedom and security of the person includes the right to be protected from domestic violence.

People in custody also have a right to humane treatment and as part of the right to a fair hearing, Parliament must pass a law to protect the rights of victims of offences.

Speaking during the opening of a Science conference Mr Mutua emphasised the need for the media to put more focus in reporting on health matters.
"So that we do continue to give divisive politics more time we need to give Kenyans ways of protecting themselves against diseases and what they can do to ensure that they are healthy," he stated.

"This can only happen if the media gives more emphasis on health matters instead of trivializing them."

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