Willy Mutunga: Jubilee Is Using WhatsApp Fines to Stay in Power

  • Former Chief Justice, Dr. Willy Mutunga has chimed into a contentious bill that seeks to impose fines for failing to disclose WhatsApp chats and SMSs which the government deems suspicious.

    In an interview with a local publication, Mutunga stated that the Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2020 in Parliament as evidence of the government’s dictatorial tendencies.

    He added that the bill was an attempt by the leadership of the Jubilee Party and the opposition to consolidate power.

    “We can point out many provisions in the Constitution that it would violate. I am sure the legislation will be struck down by the High Court in due course,” Mutunga stated.

    Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on JKLive on October 22, 2020
    Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on JKLive on October 22, 2020

    The retired president of the Supreme Court of Kenya referenced the Official Secrets Act of 1968, which was used to undermine the people’s struggle by the government.

    “In 1968, the Jomo-Kanu dictatorship was facing fierce opposition from the Kenya People’s Union (KPU), which was banned the following year. The Act is about keeping the bureaucracy loyal to the government,” he added.

    The Bill has sparked uproar from various sectors after it emerged that a Ksh1 Million fine will be charged to those who fail to avail any information on their communication platforms on demand.

    It is purported to help the government unravel complex webs of terrorism, money laundering and cybercrime. 

    Besides the mandatory disclosure of information, the proposal also seeks to update communication laws that were passed more than 50 years ago to suit the new trends and technology. 

    The Bill proposes the change of the word telegrams to telecommunication to include text messages, WhatsApp, and emails.

    Mutunga has been vocal on matters relating to the government, commenting on issues by the political class.

    In May 2020, he deconstructed the hustler tag propelled by DP William Ruto’s team, while responding to former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.

    “Very false dichotomy. We are not boarding on this narrative of dynasties versus hustlers when both steal in the name of the people. You belong to the same thieving class!” CJ Mutunga claimed.

    Deputy President William Ruto prays at a past event at his Karen, Nairobi residence

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