Nai ni ya who?
You are probably a photographer either abroad or just locally based and you want to know about Kenya laws on photography on the streets of Nairobi. Well, I am not sure what you really want to hear but all I know is that I have both good and bad news for you ‘Ma frend‘ I am going to start with the good news maybe to ease you up abit.
By now you have probably seen this tweet from Nairobi Governor; Mike ‘Sonko’ Mbuvi
— Mike Sonko (@MikeSonko) August 15, 2017
So let me give you a little back story on the tweet, this was a reply to one of the many Nairobians whom have either been directly or indirectly affected by the harassment coming from the ‘Government’ on the streets. The Governor replied saying that Larry Asego’s wish of freely taking photos of Nairobi has been granted.
This got different opinions from different people on Twitter:
Just be careful with a blanket approval that could be exploited by terrorists. Let those who seek permission get it in person from ur office
— HON KIBUCHI MWAI (@kibuchimzito) August 15, 2017
— Henry Wanjala™ 🇰🇪 (@wekesaHW) August 16, 2017
If you cringed while reading HON KIBUCHI MWAI tweet don’t worry we are together on this one. It’s people like Mwai who only care about themselves and not about the livelihood and careers of other people. He was probably tweeting from his fully furnished office or pale archives but I am not here to talk about him.
Mike Sonko the Governor
So the good news is that the Governor said he is going to protect photographers. That’s it??!! Yes, that was my reaction too.
Let’s look at the bad side of the story now. As much as the message was shared on a verified twitter handle of the Governor, that does not mean anything when it comes to legal matters as Christopher said:
Tweeter is not legally binding, put that in law and we’ll be fine.
— christopher sakwa (@slimsakwa) August 15, 2017
I fully support Christopher’s sentiments on this because trust me I have seen a couple of people still being harassed by the police or people masquerading as the police. This is a really an issue that most leaders do not want to talk about maybe due to the fact that it doesn’t affect them. That is where they get it wrong.
Photography and terrorism
Andy to those who think that Photography leads or promotes terror should focus. (Pun intended) There are so many photos of Nairobi or any other city in that case that are being published both in Kenya and abroad; even in Mogadishu News papers. If photos are the problem then we could all be dead by now.
I just hope the government of Kenya looks into this issue and urgently protect both professional and amature photographers. They are our only hope. Photography has nothing to do with terror and we should be allowed to freely document our country without any harassments. This are our jobs and livelihood. We don’t want to brag about promoting tourism yet. That’s a story for another day.
Please leave us alone!