Police summon Kenya TV anchor over interview with activist

Kenya's Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) wants the Nation Media Group (NMG) television talk show host Larry Madowo to record a statement in relation to an interview with an opposition strategist.

The interview with the Dr David Ndii of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition, took place in August.

In the letter dated December 5, 2017, DCI has asked NMG to present Mr Madowo to facilitate investigations, by recording a statement, into the case of incitement to violence and subversive activities that Dr Ndii had been charged with.

“This office is investigating a case of incitement to violence contrary to section 96 (a) (b) of the Penal Code and subversive activities contrary to section 77(1) of the penal code.

“To facilitate our investigations please avail the news anchor, the interviewer in the above matter to come to assist on the investigation and henceforth record a statement,” reads the letter signed by Setim Kandie of the DCI’s Serious Crimes Unit and addressed to NMG chief executive officer.

Legal department

Mr Sekou Owino, the NMG head of legal department, acknowledged receiving the letter and said that the company would respond to it in due course.

“We received the letter on Tuesday late in the afternoon. We are going through it and we will respond to it,” said Mr Owino.

The letter refers to an interview that Mr Madowo had with Dr Ndii on August 22, 2017 on NTV at 9pm (+3GMT) where the latter discussed the possibility of secession in Kenya.

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The Nasa head of technical committee said that politics of separatism were fairly normal, citing the examples of Britain which has had the Scottish referendum and Brexit, and also Canada, adding that constituent parts of a nation were in a will for union and were free to leave.

“I have not suggested anything. This is a political discourse. Politics of separatism is fairly normal. I am only giving people the language to discuss identity politics which has been made a taboo. If you make things taboo you don’t confront them as you are in denial.

“This is a country which has fought about these issues even long before I wrote about this. This is a conversation that has been happening and to throw something into it does not constitute incitement,” he said.

Another statement raised by Dr Ndii was that: “If change cannot come through the ballot, it will come through the bullet someday”, which he defended saying that “any society where avenues of legitimate political dissent are closed, inevitably ends with people taking (up) arms as people would not accept subjugation forever”.

Mass action

“Protestors do not kill, they only resist oppression. It is the police who shoot and kill when protesters resist. Any killing is initiated by government. We will call for mass action,” he said.

Dr Ndii also said that Nasa would be calling for mass action to challenge political impunity if elections were subverted, pointing out that the Supreme Court would not solve Kenya’s political problems as it could not stop the incumbents from practising political impunity.

“We will call for mass action at the appropriate time. We were going to do this if the elections were subverted,” he said.

The Nasa strategist was arrested on Sunday, but was released the following day on a $100 (Sh10,000) police bond, following an order by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko.

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