September 22, 2014
To all Media Houses
Governor’s assault on journalists barbaric and unlawful
The Kenya Union of Journalists condemns, in strongest terms, the ill conceived and barbaric action by Siaya County Governor, Cornel Rasanga Omoth, of physically assaulting two journalists at his Segere home.
Eric Oloo, a correspondent of The Star, was beaten senseless by Rasanga and threatened with unspecified consequences, while in the line of duty. Equally beaten up by Rasanga was Javan Onyango of Radio Mayienga FM.
The Governor had invited journalists to his home on Sunday evening for a press briefing after commissioning street lights at Ligega shopping centre. But it is now clear that this was merely a trap to corner Oloo and Onyango and unleash terror on them. The Governor was reportedly irked by news reports published and aired by the two on Gem MP, Jakoyo Midiwo’s allegations that officers in Rasanga’s county government were involved in a mega financial corruption.
KUJ is appalled by the action by the Governor – the most senior administrative official in the county – to personally molest the journalists, while they are duty. Besides violating the human rights of the affected journalists, such primitive acts are tantamount to suppressing press freedom and are accordingly unacceptable.
Following the bloody attack, Oloo has since been treated at the Siaya District Hospital and reported the incident to the police, which was recorded under OB 34/21/09/2014.
Rasanga should have followed the law if he truly felt aggrieved by the newspaper article and radio report. The Kenya Union of Journalists is accordingly consulting lawyers with a view to pressing charges against the Governor.
Oscar Kwena Obonyo
Deputy Secretary General