Media / Arts & Culture
Tuesday, 21 Feb 2017 13:19 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) chief executive Ezekiel Mutua has revived a simmering war between the board and the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) after welcoming yesterday’s High Court ruling which stopped CA’s plan to tap into private phone conversations initially planned to begin today.
Mr Mutua castigated the Authority for opposing some of KFCB's initiatives over the past year, accusing the board of acting unconstitutionally. Mr Mutua said that the confirmation of unconstitutionality is when “your actions are stopped in court”.
In a post on his Facebook page soon after the court ruling, Mr Mutua said, "So this phone snooping thing by CA has been stopped by Okiya Omtatah in court? CA was all over the place last year opposing everything KFCB and accusing us of acting unconstitutionally. Unconstitutionality is when your actions are stopped in court. Omtatah needs some national award!”
Both CA and KFCB are autonomous government agencies, with the former under the Ministry of Information and Communication while the latter is under the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts mandated by Films and Stage Plays Act Cap 222 of Kenya. At different times in 2016, the two organisations wrangled over proposals then floated by Mr Mutua to regulate films.
Yesterday, High Court Judge John Mativo granted the orders stopping the government’s plan to tap into private phone conversations following an application filed by human rights activist Okiya Omtatah, who had claimed that the directive issued by the CA would infringe on privacy and was a violation of the constitution.
Justice Mativo directed that the temporary orders stopping the implementation of the directive will remain in force until the case is concluded. He also certified the application as urgent and directed that it be heard on March 6.
The agency had awarded Broadband Communications Networks Ltd, the tender to deliver, install, test, commission and maintain a device through which the project will be implemented.
Mr Omtatah argued in his application that, “CA’s arbitrary decision to spy on Kenyans through Broadband Communications Networks, violates both the law and Constitution”.
CA director-general Francis Wangusi claimed last week that the monitoring system had become necessary to check the proliferation of counterfeit mobile devices in Kenya.