CORD leader Raila Odinga (right), Senator James Orengo, Kakamega County Chief of Staff Nabii Nabwera, Shinyalu MP Sylvester Anami as Raila led some of the “Pangani 6” and other leaders in a political rally at Butula St. Catherine special school grounds, Busia County on June 27, 2016.
CORD leaders have decried the government’s alleged interference with free speech.In a statement, Siaya Senator James Orengo said the police had allegedly approached nearly all journalists, particularly from the electronic media, who covered CORD rallies in Butula and Busia and asked them to surrender the footage from their coverage of speeches made by CORD leaders, particularly Senator Johnson Muthama.Orengo termed the act as a “tragic trend in the law enforcement sector to criminalise legitimate political speech and activity in the name of hate speech which is mainly targeting the opposition”.The senator also compared this “political weapon” with that used in the colonial regime just before the banning of political parties which led to the arraignment of many politicians in court and subsequent imprisonment of Kenyans such as George Anyona, Professor Edward Oyugi, Ngotho Kariuki and Njeru Kathangu. Senator Orengo warned that Kenya had begun a ‘dark age’ for the Bill Of Rights through the “criminalisation of pollitics and enlarged space for intolerance, bigotry and negative ethnicity”.
“Such a scorched earth policy is counterproductive and destroys the positive energy of citizenry. Jubilee cannot win this war because it is based on falsehood and a false sense of entitlement to occupy for all time the high offices of the State,” Orengo went on to add in the statement.The Siaya Senator went on to add that speech concerning public affairs through self-expression is the essence of government and that the “scale for determination of evil counsels from good ones, to tell the truth as opposed to lies and falsehoods is more speech, not enforced silence.’He finally encouraged the government to recognise the opposition as an integral part of the state and treat it and the leaders with respect and decorum.