NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Kenyan officials have held a meeting with the CNN reporter who did the story on a militia in the Rift Valley, which the government said clearly appeared stage-managed.
Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki however says Nima Elbagir declined to reveal details of the alleged militia arming themselves.
“I had a very friendly meeting with the reporter who anchored that story Nima Elbagir, and we had a lengthy discussion. However, hiding under the cloak of source confidentially, she didn’t tell me where those militias are training,” he said.
“That information was something I felt she had an obligation to reveal, but going by Article 19 of the Vienna Convention, I decided to let her keep her sources,” he added.
In the story, Elbagir claims that Kenyans are arming themselves with ‘guns made from iron piping and bullets bought from the black market’ and from ‘policemen tasked with protecting them’.
Kariuki refuted these claims and urged foreign media to be responsible when producing and publishing stories on Kenya due to the sensitive issues surrounding this particular election.
“I pleaded to her to report only what is factual, but not to write and send out to the world anything sensational that may cause the Kenyan people to once again go down the route they went in 2007,” he added.
He explained that the video shows four people, choreographed to act the role they had been assigned to in order to shoot the purported news clip.
“The government would like to assure the people of Kenya and the international community that there are no militias training anywhere in Kenya or elsewhere, for the purpose of perpetuating any political cause or causing mayhem anywhere in the country.”
Kariuki pointed out that all the hotspots have been mapped and sufficient security personnel deployed across the country, while 99,729 security officers from the Kenya Police, Administration Police, Kenya Wildlife Service, National Youth Service and the Kenya Forest Service have been deployed to all the 33,000 polling centres.
In Nairobi alone, there are 8,630 police officers who have been deployed to deal with any election related crimes.
“We are urging Kenyans to take part in the voting process because the government has everything under control as we have put in place the necessary measures to ensure a peaceful election throughout the entire process,” he emphasised.