The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has criticized Ganze MP Peter Shehe for threatening Nation’s Mombasa-based correspondent Charles Lwanga following the publication of a court story implicating the MP in the disappearance of Sh5 million CDF cash.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Programmes Manager Victor Bwire said MCK was concerned that individuals had taken to threatening and harassing journalists, which he said was against the constitutional provisions of freedom of the media.
“We condemn the threats against the journalist and advise the MP to desist from such.
“There are laid down procedures for raising legitimate complaints and it is unacceptable that journalists should be intimidated while carrying out work of public nature,” he said, adding that the council would take up the matter with Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr Lwanga recorded a statement with the police in Malindi after receiving threats from Mr Shehe.
LOST CDF CASH
He said the MP personally called him twice after the story appeared in the Daily Nation on March 17, 2016 under the title, ‘Lawmaker charged afresh with loss of CDF’s Sh5m.’
In his first threatening call on Thursday, March 17, 2016, the legislator, who at first did not identify himself said, “Are you the one who wrote false information in newspapers to taint my image? Are you not that journalist from Nation Media who has written a false story to taint me?”
On the same day, Mr Shehe allegedly sent somebody to look for the Nation journalist at the Kenya News Agency (KNA) offices in Malindi but they did not find him.
On the following day, the MP identified himself and asked the writer, “Do you know whom you are joking with young man? I am Peter Shehe, the MP for Ganze, the lawmaker.
“Did you see me stealing the money? Where did you get these false reports? When I was in court, did you come to ask for permission from me or my lawyer to write the story? Young man you are getting yourself into a big a problem. Do you know me?”
DEMANDED FAVOURABLE STORY
Mr Shehe told the journalist to write a favourable story in turn so as to be safe, otherwise he would have a “rough time.”
“You have to write a favourable report if you want to be safe. You are endangering your life young man,” he said.
He continued, “Did you know that I am a lawmaker and have a lot of influence? Do you want to put your life and career at risk? Take care and stop putting yourself into matters that you do not know because you do not know what I am capable of doing,” he and then hung up.
Mr Lwanga said he felt his life was in danger with police at the Malindi station having started investigations on the alleged threats.
He said he was only doing his job and wrote the story from what transpired in court.
He wondered why the MP was taking it personal against him.