The government has blocked Kenyan members of President-elect Barrack Obama’s extended family from talking to the media. Family members will have to ask permission from government before issuing making any statement concerning Obama. The government will also vet all those seeking information about the family.
“We are doing this because we want to ensure better flow of information.The government has decided that you should inform its officers who will be based here if you want to address the media,” Athman Said, an Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Heritage, told the Obama family in Kogelo yesterday.
A proposed Obama Cultural Home comprising of a museum, a gallery, a library and a leadership centre will be put up in Kogelo, Said told the family. A cultural officer, Dorcas Obege, will be assigned to Kogelo to vet visitors and others seeking information about the family.
Said, who was leading a delegation from the Department of Culture, said the government had set aside Sh30 million to upgrade the proposed Obama cultural home.
Is this the “marker” The Kenyan Ambassador, Peter Ogego was referring to in this now famous radio interview:
Fellhauer: “One more quick question, President-elect Obama’s birthplace over in Kenya, is that going to be a national spot to go visit, where he was born?”
Ogego: “It’s already an attraction. His paternal grandmother is still alive.”
Fellhauer: “His birthplace, they’ll put up a marker there?”
Ogego: “It would depend on the government. It’s already well known.”
The Kenyan government yesterday heightened its war on the media, arresting 11 journalists even as Prime Minister Raila Odinga promised to intervene in the matter. The journalists, who included Kenya Times reporter George Kebasso, were arrested when police fired teargas canisters to disperse a demonstration staged to oppose the punitive Communications (Amendment) Bill 2008 presently awaiting presidential assent.
Reliable police sources said that the order to arrest the scribes came directly from Police Commissioner Major Gen. (rtd) Mohamed Hussein Ali through the Nairobi Provincial Police Officer (PPO) Njue Njagi. And hours after the arrest, Cabinet Ministers James Orengo (Lands) and Mutula Kilonzo criticised the harassment on journalists and urged police to allow them to press for their rights.