A Kenyan newspaper will be forced to publicly apologize to the country’s president and remove an article from its website which likened the election of Uhuru Kenyatta to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany.
The comparison has been particularly irksome to the newly elected Kenyatta as his trial is to begin this year at the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity charges in relation to post-election violence five years ago.
The Star paper will be forced to carry an apology on its website for seven days, according to a decision by the Kenyan Media Council, which enjoys statutory powers to take action against journalists and media owners in the East African nation.
An opinion article by columnist Jerry Okungu, published in February 2012, compared Kenyatta’s possible election to Hitler’s rise to power, specifically focusing on the events leading up to Hitler’s 1933 appointment as chancellor.
Okungu, who warned that Kenyatta would run the country for his personal benefit and that of his allies, says he only meant to compare their rises and not to compare the Kenyan politician’s actions to those of Hitler.
Kenyatta won elections in March this year and was sworn into office the following month.
“I have to challenge the negative media articles because they are being used against me at the ICC,” Kenyatta said during the debates at the media commission over Okungu’s article.
“They are comparing him to Hitler, not only in terms of popularity, but also in respect to crimes against humanity,” the complaints body concluded in its final report.