Calls to punish those behind Standard Group raidThe Standard kenya
By Stephen Makabila
Renewed calls to have those behind the infamous Standard Group raid of March 2006 brought to account were made as the media house marked the fifth anniversary of the attack.
Five years ago, heavily armed and hooded mercenaries hired by individuals in Government attacked the Group’s premises in Nairobi, burned newspapers, and confiscated KTN equipment that are still under police custody.
Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, Senior Counsel Paul Muite, and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Hassan Omar, who were among special guests, called for an end to impunity and action against those named in a report, which Parliament adopted last November.
"Parliament adopted the Arturs Investigation Committee report chaired by Muite and Ramadhan Kajembe. What remains is implementation," said Imanyara during the occasion marked at The Standard Group Centre, Mombasa Road.
Standard Group Deputy Chairman and Chief Strategist Paul Melly said the company was committed to serving the public interest.
"The Group prides itself in serving public interest and the greater good of society. We reiterate that so far we have done what is good for the country," said Mr Melly.
Importance of freedom
|Standard Group Management team, guests and staff during the event at the Mombasa Road offices, Wednesday. [PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE/STANDARD]|
Others who attended the event included National Cohesion and Integration Commission Vice-Chairperson Mary Onyango, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Deputy Director, Pravin Bowry, and the chairman of Editors Guild, Macharia Gaitho.
The senior staff included Standard Group Chief Operations Officer Sarvjeet S Channa, Group Chief Editor John Bundotich, Managing Editors Kipkoech Tanui (Standard Daily), Okech Kendo (Quality and Production), Woka Nyagwoka (Weekend Editions), Zipporah Musau (Magazines), Katua Nzile (KTN) and Kizito Namulanda (Kiswahili Services).
Leaked US cables give a glimpse into what top Government officials knew or thought about the night attack on March 2, 2006. Then Internal Security Minister, John Michuki, ordered the invasion.
The classified cables sent from the US Embassy in Nairobi have been released by the whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks. The attack is believed to have been conducted under the direction of two Armenian mercenaries, who came to be known as the Artur brothers.
Mr Bundotich described the raid as an affront on democracy. "No country can be free without Press freedom," said Bundotich.
Mr Gaitho warned that although the country enjoys good media freedom, the same could be abused by the State.
He said those behind the Standard Group raid have not apologised or regretted the heinous act, and can repeat their cynical raid if not checked because they are still in power.
Muite questioned why confiscated KTN equipment was still being held at Gigiri Police Station five years after the illegal raid.
Mr Omar hinted his commission was likely to take up the investigations into the attack under the new powers bestowed the new Constitution.
"Those who were rattled broke the law and five years down the line they have not been arrested. The commission will take up the issue since under the new Constitution it has powers to investigate and submit the file straight to the Director of Prosecution," added Omar. Mr Imanyara said he would not rest until justice is done to those behind the raid.
Access to information
The MP said the country couldn’t afford to go to the General Election with lords of impunity still reigning. He said the media have a role in pointing out evils to ensure the country does not go to the dogs.
Melly supported Omar’s indication that the commission would pursue the raid issue.
"The Human Rights Commission is one place we reported the raid and furnished you with information, which you should use to move the file forward," added Melly.
Melly said Press freedom without access to information was insufficient and urged MPs to accelerate the operationalisation of the Freedom of Information Act.