Judy Akuma @PeopleDailyKe
Nasa youths stationed in a venue where party leader Raila Odinga was to address the media attacked journalists, kicking them out of the scene and injuring two of them.
The attackers, whose action appeared choreographed, started chanting, “go, go, out, out, we don’t want you hear”, as they pushed and kicked television cameramen and reporters out of Wiper headquarters in Nairobi.
They went for Citizen TV’s senior reporter Francis Gachuri and NTV’s Jane Gatwiri, with the goons kicking and slapping the lady camerawoman. In one of the numerous video clips posted widely from the scene, ODM director of communication Philip Etale is seen among the disorderly group, waving his hands away as the situation got out of control. He later sent a message on social media regretting the incident.
The youths apparently had a grudge against television stations for airing President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s vote tally of 7.4 million that Nasa leaders were disputing. “Hawa ndio walishinda wakiweka 7.4m, enda kabisa, (these are the once who kept airing 7.4m, go away),” one could be heard saying as he pushed out the Citizen team.The attack was widely condemned by the government and media stakeholders.
In a statement, Information and Communication Technology Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru said his Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior will investigate the incident with a view to ensure perpetrators face the full force of the law.
Nairobi Police Chief Japheth Koome urged the journalists attacked at the Wiper headquarters to report to Muthangari Police station for action. Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) condemned the attack. In a statement, KEG chairman Linus Kaikai demanded that Nasa identifies and hands over to the police the individuals who carried out the attack.
Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) secretary general Erick Oduor condemned the attack and warned that such acts might prompt journalists to stay away from political events in the future.
But Nasa, through Raila’s spokesman Dennis Onyango, apologised to journalists who fell victim to the attack. Political Journalists Association of Kenya (PJAK) expressed concern that several journalists had recently been attacked and assaulted by gangs at political events. .