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Why Journalists Were Chased Away From Matiangi’s Senate Grilling

Brian Sunguti

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Drama ensued at the Senate premises on the early morning of Wednesday August 19th 2020, after journalists were kicked out and barred from attending the grilling of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi by the Senate’s security committee.

CS Matiangi, alongside Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, had been summoned by the senators to answer questions in regards to the unlawful arrest and detention of three senators on Monday 17th August 2020. But having failed to appear on Monday, Matiangi drove himself to Senate buildings and was shortly joined by IG Mutyambai before accessing the premises.

Moments later, the chair of the said Senate security committee Senator Yusuf Haji ordered the immediate exit of all journalists and members of the media from the said hearing. A visibly charged Haji is said to have wondered how the press had gained entry into such a crucial hearing, and who had invited them in the first place.

This was contrary to the earlier communique sent to media houses notifying them of the said senate grilling. It was not exactly established why the Senators resorted to a private session devoid of media houses, but the sitting is said to have proceeded nonetheless.

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On Monday, Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala, Bomet Senator Christopher Langat and Samburu Senator Stephen Lelengwe were arrested and taken to police stations in their respective counties to answer to alleged charges.

This was ahead of the crucial revenue sharing debate that was coming up in Senate, a debate that failed to go through for a record ninth time. A 12-member Senate House Committee was constituted to end the stalemate and come up with a favorable formula acceptable to all.

 

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