Lawyers, lawmakers, and civil society organizations have criticized the decision to kick out journalists from the Senate Security Committee during its grilling session with Interior CS Fred Matiangi.
Uproar over Yusuf Haji's decision to kick out journalists from Matiangi's grilling session
"The return to KANU despotic rule"
The Chairman of the committee, Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, directed journalists to leave the session even though the norm has been for media to cover both committee sittings as well as live Parliament proceedings.
Haji did not explain the reason for kicking out the media despite the high public interest in the matter that was to be discussed.
The Senator, who is also the Chairman of the BBI task force, said journalists would be briefed after the session had ended.
The committee is expected to get answers from Matiang'i and other senior security officials on the reasons for the dramatic arrest of three Senators ahead of Monday's Senate sitting that had been scheduled to debate the Counties Revenue Allocation formula.
LSK President Nelson Havi, who is also representing the arrested Senators, condemned Haji's decision and termed a return to the Kanu dark days.
"The return to KANU despotic rule Ten Years after promulgation of The Constitution of Kenya and Liberation Speaker Honourable Kenneth Otiato Marende having allowed live broadcast of proceedings of Parliament as well as of its Committees," Havi complained.
Haji's colleagues equally condemned the secrecy in a discussion that was of high public interest.
"I am shocked that the Senate Committee on Security chased the media from a sitting inquiring the illegal arrest of Senators. If the committee cannot stand up for colleagues, institution of Senate and democracy, then Something is really rotten in the state of Kenya," Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said.
"I disagree with the decision of the Senate Committee on security barring media from the grilling of the CS Interior, IG Mutyambai and DCI Kinoti on the unlawful arrest and detention of Senators Malala , Lelegwe and Langat . The public have a right to know," Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior lamented.
Interestingly, Matiang'i's PR team was allowed in to take photos which they shared on the Ministry's social media pages.
The CS was accompanied by DCI boss George Kinoti and IG of Police Hilary Mutyambai.
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