Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has condemned a Kenya Airways employee Gire Ali, who was recently suspended for filming a Chinese plane landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with 239 passengers amid coronavirus fears.
The video went viral on February 26, moments after China Southern Flight No.6044 touched down at JKIA with 239 passengers from China, where coronavirus has left at least 2900 people dead and over 80,000 infected.
The video elicited public uproar on social media after it appeared that the state was exposing Kenyans to coronavirus.
Appearing before the joint health committee on Wednesday, the CS stated by secretly filming a security facility, Ali committed an illegality and should be punished.
“I want to clarify two things here. He was not a whistleblower, that is a wrong definition of that gentleman. He committed an illegality,” Macharia said.
Macharia stated that the flight was not “secret” as it landed at around 7 am.
“What was he whistleblowing about a Boeing that arrived in the morning? It was not arriving at night in secrete, we all could see it,” he said adding that under aviation rules, such a big plane cannot secretly land in any airport, ” he told the committee.
“That gentleman secretly filmed a security institution, that even me as a CS cannot dare, that is an illegality and the legal system should determine what happens to him.”
Macharia’s remarks come just hours after the High Court quashed Ali’s suspension.
Justice Weldon Korir also issued orders barring the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) from arresting and charging the KQ employee over the viral video.
Ali had moved to court seeking orders to bar the state from arresting and charging him with terrorism for sharing the video on social media.
Before moving to court, Ali had also alleged threats to his life.
In a statement on Sunday, KQ stated that the suspension followed a complaint filed by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) over security breach at the airport by one of its (KQ) employees.
The video led to the suspension of flights from China after two Kenyan doctors moved to court.
The High Court also ordered that the government looks for all the 239 passengers and quarantine them at a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) facility. The government is yet to obey the orders.