Omtatah says unable to serve court order suspending media shutdown

February 2, 2018 4:12 pm
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Okiya was frustrated in his effort to serve the order on the Communications Authority/COURTESY

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Human Rights Activist Okiya Omtatah says he has been unable to serve the court orders directing the Communications Authority of Kenya to suspend the shutdown of Citizen, NTV and KTN broadcasters pending the full hearing of his application.

In a statement, Omtatah stated his court processor was allegedly detained at the headquarters of the authority, until about 10am before he was released.

“At around 8am today, two men, who introduced themselves as police officers posted at the Communications Authority of Kenya, abducted my court process server at the headquarters of the authority, and detained him,” he said.

He explained that this prompted him to do so himself but he claims he was blocked at the gate with a man who alleged that he had instructions not to allow him or anybody to serve the court order suspending the media shutdown.

“Upon release, he contacted me & I decided to come & effect service in person. A man in a black suit, who claims to be a police officer, has blocked my access to the CA at the gate. He claims he has instructions from above not to allow me or anybody to serve the Court Order suspending the media shutdown. I am staying put until I serve these orders. To God be the power & the glory,” he said.

The High Court on Thursday ordered the restoration of the three TV stations’ transmissions pending the hearing of the petition.

Justice Chacha Mwita also directed the respondents, the Communications Authority of Kenya, Interior Ministry and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi not to interfere with their transmissions till then.

In his application, Omtatah submitted that the switch off was contrary to the dictates of Articles 10, 47, 73(1), 129 and 153(4) of the Constitution, the Fair Administrative Action Act, and the Statutory Instruments Act.

He stated that the switch off was grossly arbitrary, disproportionate, oppressive, and unreasonable adding that it constitutes illegality, unlawfulness, unreasonableness, and irrationality.

He further stressed that the action went against the Constitution and that there was no provision in law to support the shutdown.

He stated that unless the application is urgently heard and determined, Kenyans will suffer great loss as the Constitution and the rule of law continue to be violated or threatened.

The channels were shut down for broadcasting live the NASA leader Raila Odinga’s unofficial “inauguration” in Nairobi.

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