, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 15 – Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Senate Committee has issued a fresh invitation to Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru to appear before it next week Monday after he failed to show up in Tuesday’s session.
Mucheru who was scheduled to appear before the committee to explain the circumstances under which transmission of four television station were switched off, in his defense, in a letter; gave reasons that he had other engagements, something which angered members.
Temporary Committee Chairman Aaron Cheruyiout who read out the letter from Mucheru’s Principal Secretary Henry Mungasia excusing Mucheru stated that “Thursday is a day reserved for Cabinet meetings hence I will thereafter travel out of the country on official duties from 19 February to 26 February 2018 and I therefore request for postponement of this meeting to a later date,” read part of the letter.
Mucheru had confirmed to the Chairman of the Committee Gideon Moi that he would appear but to the dismay of the members who were kept waiting for almost one hour the CS was a no show.
Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, accused Mucheru of not taking the invitation seriously saying that he had been given a seven day notice prior to the date of the invitation.
“This is a sign that the CS is contemptuous on the role of Parliament. The contempt the CS has shown is an extension to Parliament is an extension to contempt that he shows to the constitution, media and violating the rights of the public who have a right to information,” said Kajwang.
Citizen, NTV, KTN News and Inooro television stations were shut down by the government after they aired live the mock swearing-in ceremony of Raila Odinga as ‘People’s President’.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi while ordering the closure of the four said that the government would only switch back the transmission of the four after investigations were complete on the role the media played in the coverage of Odinga oath taking.
MPs Enock Wambua (Kitui), Isa Boy (Kwale) and Malachy Ekal (Turkana) who were also present during the meeting questioned why Mucheru would not send a representative to answer queries on his behalf.
Wambua said that Kenyans are waiting for answers on informed the shutdown and reminded the government that the freedom of the media is guaranteed in the Constitution.
“Everybody in the country is waiting for an answer as to exactly what informed the decision to close the transmission of the four television stations for a record of ten days. The country needs to understand why the CS disobeyed court orders to switch back the transmission of the four.
Freedom of the media is not something that this country begs from the government,” said Wambua.
Ekal challenged Mucheru that he should respect the law as he has been charged with official responsibility to answer to Kenyans.
Cheruyiout asked Mucheru to to appear on Monday, February 19, before he travels out of the country for an official engagement abroad failure to which vowed to issue summons.