Top Stories / National
Thursday, 28 Sep 2017 15:33 EAT
Barely a month after the Jubilee government promulgated a new policy requiring all public officials seeking to travel abroad to seek clearance from President Uhuru Kenyatta, NASA leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka have now been added to the list of those who need the president's permission to leave Kenya.
The ban on travel by all public officials except with the president's authorisation has brought collaborative research by academics in the public universities to its knees and provoked lamentations of dictatorship. "This is unprecedented. Even in the dark days of Kanu rule, imposition of Executive power on universities did not get to the point of banning travel," Moi University lecturer Duncan Omanga wrote in the Daily Nation yesterday.
As Kenya doesn't commit significant resources to research, most of the researchers in the country's universities depend on collaborative work with foreign universities to access research grants and many travel out of the country from time to time to attend seminars, present research papers or for further studies including post-doctoral work.
These have now been imperilled, and a number of university administrators have said the order, whose legal foundation has not been explained, is ill-advised. However, the president, in a bid to control the movement of opposition leaders, now seems determined to prevent Raila and Kalonzo from foreign travel to limit their global networking.
In the Eastern African region, governments of Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Sudan have implemented various forms of bans on travel by opposition leaders in recent years, but all have relaxed the requirements.
Kalonzo who left the country for Uganda today was briefly detained at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as authorities tried to stop him from traveling before being cleared by State House. He was however released and allowed to travel to preside over at a graduation ceremony of the Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU).
But Kalonzo, who is being accompanied by NASA principal and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, was informed by airport security officials that he and Raila will now need the president's clearance before they travel.
Raila immediately condemned what he termed infringement on the freedoms and liberties of NASA leaders. He vowed that they will not be cowed and consequently will not seek clearance from State House.
Below is the full statement
NASA CONDEMNS ATTEMPTS TO BAR HON KALONZO MUSYOKA FROM TRAVELING ABROAD
SEPTEMBER 28, 2017
Earlier today, authorities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport tried to stop NASA co-principal Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka from travelling to Uganda where he is to preside at a graduation ceremony of the Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) as Chancellor.
Although Mr Musyoka and Sen. Moses Wetangula who accompanied him were later allowed to travel, the authorities disclosed that henceforth Hon Musyoka and I, the NASA candidate, would need clearance from State House before leaving the country.
These attempts point to a rapid deterioration of the political situation in the country and the emergence of an all-out effort to create an atmosphere of fear. They point to a resurgence of the old order, with the Executive giving itself powers that do not exist in our laws.
NASA condemns this latest infringement on the freedoms and liberties and the harassment of its top leadership. The attempts to prohibit opposition leaders from leaving the county and to control their movement through State House clearances are illegitimate maneuvers by an increasingly paranoid regime.
NASA wishes to inform the Jubilee administration that its leadership does not intend to seek any clearance from State House to travel abroad. The Kenyan Opposition must remain free as a legitimate part and parcel of the Kenyan political land scape and be allowed and enabled to pursue its mandate as an alternative government and voice of the people in line with the Constitution.
RT. HON RAILA ODINGA
SEPTEMBER 28, 2017.