NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 20 – The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has condemned increased cases of harassment of journalists by bodyguards of top officials after a police officer attached to Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha was caught on tape assaulting a journalist in Kisumu.
The Thursday incident was captured by fellow journalists during a tour of the Cabinet Secretary to a school.
“It is a shameful incident,” said David Omwoyo, MCK’s Chief Executive Officer, “journalists are not a threat to public or state officials.”
Omwoyo urged the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to take action against the officer captured on tape assaulting the journalist.
“Action should be taken, and it is time the bodyguards are that journalists are also at work, they should not be seen as enemies or a threat because they are invited to cover events,” Omwoyo said.
Rushdie Oudia, the Chairman of the Kisumu Journalists Network identified the journalists who was assaulted as Ondari Ogega, a Nation Media Group photographer.
He said the journalist was assaulted while trying to get the best photo of the Cabinet Secretary who was inspecting desks at Kosawo Primary School.
“However, while struggling to get the best shots of the CS with the pupils, Nation Media Group Photographer Ondari Ogega accidentally bumped into the said officer whose identity is not known and even apologized,” Oudia said, “However, as he made his way out of the classroom, the CS’s bodyguard followed him and reached for his fly before squeezing his genitals and threatening to do more outside the classroom.”
In a video that went viral online, the bodyguard is seen pushing the photographer away and could be heard telling off journalists who questioned his actions.
“The network would like to condemn in the strongest words possible attack and consequent actions by one of the bodyguards belonging to CS Education Prof George Magoha,” the Kisumu Network of Journalists said.
There has been no official comment from the National Police Service Headquarters or the Ministry of Education even though Capital FM understands that Mutyambai and Magoha had been briefed about the incident.