Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kenya: Masked government gunmen shutdown independent media network


Masked gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles and unmarked police vans raided and ransacked Kenya’s largest independent daily newspaper offices and the Kenya Television Network (KTN) offices late last night. Employees of the East African Standard newspaper and the TV network KTN were mugged, beaten, arrested, and taken in for questioning by what appears to be Kenyan police or national security agents and then later released. No one was safe including innocent bystanders looking on in horror from the street like Kenyan independent journalist Argwings Odera. Here is further in-depth reporting on the assault direct from the front page of the East African Standard Online website:

State Owns Up to Raids – Mar. 02, 2006
Assault an attack on media freedom by Standard Media Group’s CEO Tom Mshindi – Mar. 02, 2006

Kenya’s Internal Security Minister, John (the Black Mamba) Michuki has admitted that the “Government” organized and authorized the simoultaneous raids on the Standard Media Group's offices and printing plant. Michuki stated to a covey of local and international journalists attending a Kenyan State event, “When you rattle a snake you must be ready to be bitten“ before being hurriedly ushered away by his personal bodyguards. The Kenyan President and several ministers attending the event had no comment or pleaded complete ignorance of the police raids.

I’ve been looking at cultural symbols and flags online from Kenya and I can’t seem to find anything with a “Snake” on it, so what snake is Michuki talking about, the “Don’t Tread on Me” viper flown in 1775 by the Continental Fleet?

This is the latest incident on the Road to Perdition for the beleaguered Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, a government that has been suffering from one scandal after another over the past few months. If President Kibaki stops and reigns in the thugs and Gestapo-style police forces now before it is too late then perhaps he won’t end up like so many of his political colleagues and predecessors across the African continent. Disgraced.

A “Jewels in the Jungle” Blogosphere Exclusive!

(Almost) LIVE video coverage of the raid at the Standard’s offices and plant by Ruud Elmendorp, Nairobi-based Dutch independent video journalist.
VideoJournalist Website – Kenyan newspaper and TV station shutdown (the raid)
Ruud's Blog – Kenya Television Network resumed (press conference by Standard Media Group's CEO and Executive Board)

Also checkout Ruud’s other reports about Kenya i.e. Kenya Athletes and the Kenya Drought Crisis and don’t miss his latest coverage of the Uganda Elections. Ruud Elmendorp is also a featured news reporter for the New York-based Videoblogger supersite Rocketboom (ref: Wednesday March 1st Rocketboom frontpage feature on Uganda).

Note: Broadband Internet connection is advised to view Ruud’s online video reports. Rocketboom video news requires Quicktime 7.0 and loads of bandwidth.

Kenyan Bloggers Reaction

Mshairi – Press Freedom, An Open Letter to Kibaki (Mar. 02, 2006)
Kenyan Pundit - Githongo featured in Time Magazine (Mar. 02, 2006)
African Bullets and Honey – nothing yet, sleeping (Mar. 02, 2006)

Mentalacrobatics – Raid on EA Standard (Mar. 02, 2006)
Mentalacrobatics - Press Harrassement Kibaki Style (Mar. 01, 2006)
Kenya Unlimited Webring – Voices (see blog links on the LH side)

Other news coverage and resource material:

Washinton Post – Gunmen shutdown Kenyan newspaper, TV station (Mar. 02, 2006) – The Kenya Media Industry (last updated 2002)

The Committee to Protect Journalists Africa Region 2006
Kenya alerts and summaries 2005


Fontaine said...

I read the Standard every day when I was in Nairobi. What the government did was an act of cowardice.

jke said...

That's a nice collection of links on that subject - thx!

Gleich mal verlinken :-)

Imnakoya said...

This is more than cowardice, this is sheer madness and a grossly appalling abuse of power!

jke said...

Germany's ZDF tv station has an interesting footage of the event, showing Michuki's content smile...
(in german, though)

Imnakoya said...

BRE you have been tagged. See Grandiose Parlor (Tag-O-mania) on what to do. Cheers.

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks everyone for all the comments. This story is really snowballing through the blogosphere worldwide. Kenyan blogger Mentalacrobatics has one of the best (roundup) posts on the subject I've seen to date. Checkout his March 3rd post titled "Reaction to the Raids" at the following link:

Special thanks to JKE for the ZDF German TV network coverage tip. I missed the ZDF news report last night but noted that their online video from ZDF's Nairobi Bureau coverage of the raids was typical of their biased approach to news events in Africa. Natürlich war die deutschsprachig Kommentare kein Problem fur mich...:-)

Imnakoya, I will try to join in the Tag-o-rama if time allows sometime next week. Are the Easter Lillies beginning to push up through the Minnesota snow yet? Springtime is right around the corner you know.

Kenyananalyst said...

I find it inconceivable and foolhardy that:

1. The President hasn't still found it fit to comment
on something supposedly touching on our national, and
by extension, his own security.

2. That Hon. Michuki expects to win back public
opinion with his belated attempts to sell the new
angle to this incident. The Tuesday protests, if
allowed to proceed, could just be the turning point in
this saga (unless something gives between now and
then. I certainly expect some clergymen to counsel the
nation to be "patient" this Sunday).
Someone has sent me an e-mail concerning the current
affairs in our country, which I now take the liberty
to share with you and others:

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see
the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered -
he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the

"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a
mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head
and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave
concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I
cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is
a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry,
Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but
pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a
mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but
it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and
dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the
house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In
the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake
whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her
to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken
soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard
for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and
neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.
To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many
people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow
slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the
wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem
and think it doesn't concern you...., remember
-- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life. We
must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra
effort to encourage one another.

Renegade Eye said...

Very interesting and well written post.

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks Renegade Eye, and thanks for stopping by again. I see that you've been very busy in the blogosphere as well...:-)