Baraka FM founders in court row

Lawyer Leonard Shimaka. photo | kevin odit
Lawyer Leonard Shimaka. photo | kevin odit 

A group of Mombasa-based religious leaders want Baraka FM stopped from playing secular music.

Mombasa Pastors Fellowship Association has told the court that they are key stakeholders of activities at Baraka FM Ltd.

Through lawyer Leonard Shimaka, the pastors say they are among individuals who came up with Baraka FM, which was to strictly broadcast Christian content.

“It was the first Christian station to be established in the country,” he said, adding that his clients were vital in having a broadcast licence granted to operate the station.

Mr Shimaka told Justice Eric Ogola that the station does not broadcast Christian content any more. In its petition, the association wants the court to declare that Coast-based radio station’s act of broadcasting non-religious content is a violation of Christian rights.

The pastors have sued the station’s board of directors, Baraka FM Ltd, the Communications Authority of Kenya and the Attorney General.

Through lawyer Kennedy Ngaira, the station’s board of directors and Baraka FM Ltd said the dispute ought to be handled under Kenya Information and Communication Regulations.

Mr Ngaira said the regulations provide ways of solving “a matter of this nature” hence having the case in court was acting before proper time.

“Never have they appeared before the dispute resolution to argue the issue. The petition is an abuse of the court process, it does not meet the requirements of the Constitution,”he said.

The pastors said in 2000 the station was a non-profit religious corporation.

“The petitioner being stakeholders sought the broadcast licence of Baraka FM for the principle purpose of broadcasting the Gospel of our Lord within Coast region,” the petition reads in part.

The court will deliver its decision on December 19.