Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

With the coming in place of the Media Authority, the country came to the reality that arbitrary arrest of journalists was a thing of the past. It beats all logics that when a state official comes out to give an order for a scribe to be arrested while performing his duties or in the cause of his or her duties. This kind of behavior should be kept in the past and cannot be allowed to be applied in a civilized society. It is even more uncouth when the same officer being finger-pointed to have given or issued the arrest order turns around to deny the same and take the centre stage to be seen to be spearheading the release of the same journalist from his detention camp. It is not in my domain to dwell on pettiness because this is petty. The Governor is a representative of the head of state and should be able to do just good, which the President has demonstrated by going even further to release from detention people who are considered to have wronged the nation in different instances. His tolerance should be a symbol of unity and peace which has to be demonstrated by his appointed arms, not to the contrary. Above all, government appointees although should work and speak one language collectively, should know their boundaries instead of encroaching onto the others’ responsibilities. The Torit Governor should come out clearly and tell the country in actual facts what offence(s) the journalist had committed. I am of the strong opinion that this was one way of intimidation of power application if not otherwise. It is even a negative portrayal of what the country has fought to have the freedom of expression and press enshrined in the national Constitution. Imagine that foreign ideologies and busy bodies who wait for such skeleton opportunities to hit the country under the belt. Why give them this kind of a chance if some people are not bent to play foreign masters’ tune. Let each and every institution do its work without interference. If indeed the journalist had committed any grave offence, it should have been brought to the attention of the media authority where arbitrations and reasons against reasons would have found a way of mature settlement instead of letting out the country inside the opportunists’ hands. It has been a long walk to gain what little one might thought is there, but it is a walk that should be appreciated because one does not know what he has until he loses it. Sober mind should guide us in all undertakings, not only for the journalists but for the entire human kind that must be respected irrespective of their status and cadre in life. In this case, whoever issued the arrest order of the journalist in Torit was wrong and stands wrong because two wrongs do not make a right. Respect for human being is mandatory all the time and should not be demanded.  

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