Blogger Edgar Obare when he was arraigned in Kiambu Court to answer Dubious Charges
The arrest and arraignment of blogger Edgar Obare for allegedly disclosing “private and personal data” of YouTuber Natalie Wanjiru Githinji alias Natalie Tewa is testament that Kenya is sliding back to state repression of dissenting voices. Edgar Obare’s only crime is revealing some leaders may not have lived up to Chapter 6 of Constitution.
We should be thanking Edgar Obare blowing the whistle on a private person who was traveling in a luxurious jet hired with public money for a needless trip. And if Natalie Tewa respects her privacy, what was she doing cavorting in a private jet hired using Kenyans public money at Ksh. 1 Million per hour?
Instead of Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and Minority Whip Junet Mohamed explaining to Kenyans what a female who is neither a specialist doctor or nurse was doing on a jet hired by state to pick Raila, we have the man who broke the news to Kenyans when the mainstream media could not do it on the dock.
We won’t go into the merits of the charge as the matter is sub judice, but suffice it to ask if indeed it is true Natalie Tewa travelled to Dubai, how did she do it with the Government ban on international travel in place and what was she going to do in the gulf that could not wait as the rest of us Kenyans sat and waited?
There is an emerging and worrying trend of the police allowing themselves to be used by connected politicians and officials to harass bloggers who report sensational news against “celebrities.” A case in point the recent arrest of two Eldoret-based bloggers who had claimed that Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiangi had tested positive for Covid-19.
Many social media activists raising eyebrows over what they described as “highhandedness” on the part of the CS in charge of police who could have simply demanded that the bloggers correct or retract the story. Never mind there is hardly enough officers to tackle serious crimes across the country.
Edgar Obare is charged with the offence of unlawful disclosure of personal data contrary to section 72 (3) (b) as read with section 73 of the data protection act number 24 of 2019. If convicted, he may be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh3 million or to an imprisonment term not exceeding 10 years, or both.
The charge sheet reads “between July 9 and July 13, 2020 at an unknown place, within the Republic of Kenya, using your social media accounts, domain name www.bnn.ke and verified Instagram account @edgarobare, unlawfully disclosing personal data to wit visa belonging to one Natalie Wanjiru Githinji without her consent.”
Many Kenyans are beginning to feel the controversial data protection offenses are becoming a potent tool in the hands of Government officials to stifle dissent. We associate ourselves with Robert Alai’s appeal to DPP Noordin Haji “Stop entertaining the corrupt and criminals in DCI. There is nothing wrong Edgar Obare did.”