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Journalists demanding apology from DP Ruto over harassment claims

The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) has petitioned Deputy President William Ruto over repeated claims of harassment by his security detail.

In a signed letter by secretary-general Erick Oduor, KUJ has also demanded a public apology from the DP following two incidents of harassment which reportedly occurred in the past two months.

“The latest such incident took place on September 1, 2019 during a fundraiser at Kangata Catholic Church in Kirinyanga during which Nation Media Group journalist George Munene was manhandled and detained by your security detail without any cause,” Oduor states.

“You will also recall that on August 10, upon your orders, journalists covering the traditional wedding of Amos Ole Mpaka at Ng’ambo in Baringo were roughed up and assaulted by your security detail,” the union further stated.

On that occasion, the DP appeared to shoo off journalists to give the crowd a clear view of the speakers at the wedding.

Ruto went as far as making it clear to the journalists that he was not there to address them, but rather members of the public gathered at the venue.

Some few days later, an audio recording of someone who sounded like the DP chasing away journalists from an event was widely shared on social media.

It was however never established whether or not the person speaking in the audio was indeed the Deputy President.

Earlier on June 27, Ruto refused to field questions from journalists over an alleged plot to assassinate him.

APOLOGY DEMAND

On that day, the DP ignored requests from journalists to talk on matter after a press conference on female genital mutilation at his Karen residence office in Nairobi.

He waved to journalists after the press briefing outside his office before retreating to the building.

Moments later, security personnel ordered reporters who had pitched camp outside the office in the hope that the DP will show up and speak on the assassination claims to leave.

KUJ also wants the DP to assist it in pursuing legal action against the offenders.

“We demand an immediate apology from you as a state officer and an assurance that your office will assist the victims in pursuing legal redress. We also want an assurance that acts of impunity against journalists shall cease,” the union said in the letter.

The DP’s office is yet to comment on this petition.