Media Failed to Proclaim their Independence

First, I’m not happy with the way the media have handled the referendum campaigns.
On a scale of one to ten, I’ll give them six. They have just been above average but do not deserve a clap of any sort. Were it not for the wide coverage of political rallies and some informative plenary discussions I would have comfortably given them four!

I’m particularly perturbed by how Standard Media Group and particularly its TV station, KTN, though it is not alone in this cocoon, manned by politicians, reported news about the referendum.

The station focused so much on former President Moi and his family- a child born after 2002 and ardent fan of KTN, could have guessed right the sitting President of Kenya as Daniel arap Moi and his son Gideon Moi his Vice-president.

The most abuse of the media group was how they gave Moi’s son lots of coverage. For goodness sake, why should young G. Moi be given so much airtime on TV? Who’s he?

These not-so-rhetorical questions are worth an answer. Let me try to guess.
If it’s because he’s KANU’s vice-chairman, then I’m sorry he got more than he should have had. How many other vice-chairmen of other so-called big parties, factually more prominent than him, got such huge daily footage on TV?
Asman Kamama, for example deputises Martha Kara for Narc Kenya and I bet since referendum campaigns began, if my mind serves me well, was never mentioned let alone given any coverage by the media.

The likes of George Nyamweya of PNU found some little mention when he accompanied the likes of his boss, President Kibaki, to a function-no he didn’t at all- the nominated Mp was in the No and therefore a total black-out though he was in Gideon’s side. No other time was he given a whole time to express his No ideas.
So when G.Moi, a mere vice-chair, is all over the Standard’s news outlets, then it’s questionable. I don’t need to say more of former president whose name was mud immediately after NARC came to power in 2002. However, the past few days, a foreigner could have easily thought he was still at State House if his less anonymity on TV, especially KTN was to go by.

It is without any doubt that most media stations once again failed to observe the Media Act which clearly stipulates in section 35 (I) that: “The media shall, in a free and independent manner and style, inform the public on issues of public interest and importance in a fair, accurate and unbiased manner whilst distinctly isolating opinion from fact and avoiding offensive coverage of nudity, violence and ethnic biases.”

Fairness seemed elusive for most of them and campaign news beamed by most TV stations were either skewed towards a particular side or meant to promulgate more one message (either Yes or No) over the second.

By the way
*‘Decision 2010’ on NTV is just the bomb! Please make an effort to watch it. It runs from 1st to 6th August.
*May the side which read and understood well the proposed constitution win.

*This is my penultimate post on referendum matters.

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Please, Keep your Mouths Shut

It is now in public domain. And all but inanimate inhabitants in Kenya know that Members of Parliament have yet again demanded for a monthly pay increase. It is a known fact that they gave the Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta a seven-day ultimatum to Bill all their more money demands or else…
In the wake of the unquestionably gruesome demands by the already heftily paid members are some croaking voices who are desperately distancing themselves from the unanimous passage of the proposals.
The Mps now trying to back-bite their colleagues have no locus standi in doing so. If they had issues with the proposals they should have present themselves in parliament last week and objectively ridicule the Akiwumi pay report.
When the regular absentee honourables speak with glee and pride about misdemeanours their ‘parlimates’ committed when they were away, they not only expose their utter disunity in the august House but seek also to hoodwink Kenyans about their supposed sacredness.
The proposed constitution should not be tainted by these not-so-honourable members. The Mps’ enormous pay perks should not be associated in any way with the ongoing referendum campaigns. Firstly, the two, now monstrous situations facing Kenyans, do not relate whatsoever apart from a considerably distant section in the proposed constitution indicating that an ‘independent’ Salaries and Remuneration Commission tasked to, according to article 230 (3) (a), set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State Officers.
The clause is human enough from what most legislators are heavily exploiting now-legally it is possible for them to corner the president into agreeing their salary increases but if the draft constitution is adopted, the legislators who the constitution expects to be among the State employees, would no longer have the prerogative to determine their monthly pay checks.

Secondly, this special-money-hungry group of employees who have escaped the taxman for quite a long time and to further ascertain their arrogance, are non-repentant of their actions, have no moral ground discussing what they have already agreed on and passed in parliament.

The Finance minister played good music to Kenyans when he categorically refused to heed to the demands. And President Kibaki will even excite Kenyans more if he refused to assent to the exploitative bill.
Media reports that legislators are planning to arm-twist the Treasury boss so he could surrender their money are unfortunate enough. If true, then such desperate tricks by respected people in society are archaic and idiotic enough. They are representative of a five-year-old kid tantrums; who when refused to have a bite of Mandazi because of his bulging stomach would resort to unorthodox behaviour like refusing to sleep so that his parents change their mind.

YS: It’s dumbfounding to hear Ikolomani Mp Dr Bonny Khalwale asking Finance minister to be answerable to parliament as far as the salary increase is concerned. What other answers does he want apart from what Uhuru said? If he is not frightening the minister into the House of Intimidation so he could threaten him with what he is only famed for- Censure motions, then another is much welcome.
YS2: If Mps succeed in their quest to have Sh1 million plus-salary every month then it will mean one member’s package is enough to pay 67 primary school teachers each receiving sh15, 000 per month. How disgraceful is this?

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Seven of the Best for Machage and Company

First, congratulations are in order for President Kibaki for temporarily stripping Dr Wilfred Machage of his government job. Doing this clearly indicated His Excellency’s intolerance towards employees who do not know how to take care of their god-given tongues.
Though Kibaki did not have the guts to give him seven of the best, he nonetheless gave him enough to make the only Kuria Member of Parliament wriggle in excruciating pain.
After getting the news of his dismissal-I guess it was done Moi style because people like Machage do not deserve better treatment- the undoubtedly infuriated Mp addressed a press conference at the parliament buildings-he should have done it at the Red Card Centre- where he cried foul for his dismissal.
His facial expressions said of all disappointment in the heart of the down in the dumps man who few days ago thought he had all the freedom to piece land to all tribes in Kenya.
It seems when he was busy parcelling land, alongside his friends including new found surveyor and fellow Mp, Fred Kapondi, and others in the No camp, he thought he knew more; kumbe he was charting his own demise from the cabinet office! The president, with powers given him by the constitution, send Mr Machage packing.
Rather than throw tantrums the former assistant minister, once a minister for East Africa Cooperation, should be happy now he can go plan with his people how “to extend Kuria’s boundary to Awendo”. This would surely keep him busier as he awaits his hate speech court case to be determined.
The heavily bearded man, who seems to know more about land matters than surgery, his profession, spoke of the president ‘succumbing’ to Luis Moreno-Ocampo charges at the Hague. How he knows that I do not know, maybe he should have shed more light. Anyway, his trial and sentence of the president seemed to have infuriated the head of state the more; and if Mr Machage is lucky to escape three years cooling his white head and beard at Kamiti Maximum Prison then he better begin learning to forget his plum cabinet work. He would not get it back.

YS: The claims (or were they excuses) by NO campaigners that National Cohesion and Integration Commission has been unfairly targeting them is totally unfounded. The law is clear, it says what means and means what it says, so if you break it then expect harsh treatment from it. Excuses by the likes of Kiema Kilonzo and company are more like those of a nursery school kid who when found erring and punished would lament saying he did it because someone else did it and therefore should not be punished.
YS2: If Machage and Kapondi think that names given to regions are an indication of the true owners of the lands, then does it mean Nairobi, meaning a place of cool waters in Maasai, belongs to Maasai and does that mean all other tribes are aliens in the capital city?

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When Tragedy Strikes, God is Not for Us, All

Yes, we now know that some bomb-like goods were planted by mysterious guys in Uhuru Park during the ‘Prayer’ meeting called by some local televangelists on Sunday.
The goods, confirmed by criminal investigators as grenades, thankfully ‘waited’ until late in the evening when they exploded causing few deaths and dozens of injuries. A deadly stampede is reported to have followed the three explosions and many injuries could have resulted from the mad rush for safety.
That aside, and the organisers, mostly renowned priests, displayed hypocrisy, but more of inexperience of the highest degree when the blasts occurred. First, how can a sober man (let alone a Bishop…Dr Someone) dismiss an overt blast as a gunshot or some not-so-serious stuff and let people close their eyes to pray. It is foolishness and that priest ought to apologise before starting to point fingers. Such naivety caused many injuries because the other blasts, which were avoidable considering the time it took to blow, caused major losses. Had the first blast been taken seriously, there is a high possibility the second and third could have been avoided, or at least the number of casualties reduced.
Or did he (that pastor who dismissed the first explosion) know something. Why did he urge crusaders to move closer the dais, a short distance from where another blast would go up soon?
Anyway before the deadly incident, when the Christian leaders were addressing the crowd, everyone was enthusiastic enough. All and sundry subscribed to one course then; calling for the rejection of the draft. It did not matter the real agenda initially put forward by the clergymen- a crusade to pray. When calls to sing to the tune of the song by the ‘renowned’ men of the church they obeyed and sang their hearts out.
But inequality and differences in the kingdom of God were manifest soon after the attack.
Bishop Margret Wanjiru, the ‘anointed’ one of the Jesus is Alive Ministries (JIAM) was whisked away by her security men who by then had parted with the crusaders’ mission-to pray together. It was not time to herd around but forget prayers and run home.
Other Bishops, Reverends, Deacons and other Clergy, they- the sacred owners of the churches represented disappeared and only reappeared at Kenyatta National Hospital to console with poor survivors and the grieved who had fallen victim of the attack. Of course to shed crocodile tears too.
The normal Christians were left for God to help them.
Yellow Shadows1: The church leaders have no basis to conclusively blame the Uhuru Park grenade attacks on those in the Yes camp. What the Christian leaders did in furiously accusing those in support of the proposed constitution (yours truly included) was a clear show of a lack of knowledge in matters biblical.
YS2: The so-called televangelists who had dreams of en-grouping two million heads at Uhuru Park ought to be reminded that the small Park cannot hold such a number, and there is no ground it can hold such in the country, unless some estates are demolished around the Park.

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Kenya Police Incompetency

The recent confessions of a self-styled kidnapper and killer revealed more than his love for blood.
The self-confessed ‘cannibal’, Philip Onyancha, was happy to reveal the number of human beings he sucked their blood and places he dumped their lifeless bodies. Hot on his heels were police officers who trailed him as he led them to various hide-outs he had left his victims.
As the heavily secured and hand-cuffed man was hosted for press conferences, police listened keenly as he disclosed how he lured innocent Kenyans to quench his “urge of blood”. They were overtly happy after arresting a guy who had escaped them for three years.

What remained a secret all along and which no one dared let out on that day, not even the police inspector, was how the man had avoided police dragnets (if at all they were) for that long. If his ‘bloody’ affairs began in 2007 and took police three years to arrest him, then police should give more reasons why they gave the criminal much freedom-to undertake his blood sucking activity without fear- other than celebrate.

Among the big questions begging answers is why Kenyan police are always reactive rather than proactive. At no point have these security men come up with successful strategies to stop such criminalities. They always wait for crimes then they commence endless investigations which are often useless in the courts of law as the accused are normally set free for lack of evidence to jail them.
Their ‘reactivity’ was clear when in an apparent effort to excite the media, and hoodwink Kenyans, they invited them to follow the serial killer, who had successfully murdered innocent citizens, to his abattoir in Naivasha. The move was undeniably a lame effort meant to deceive Kenyans that they (police) were doing their best to protect them. But in doing this they exposed their inability to stop the likes of Onyancha from committing such heinous crimes. It is good as painful to wait for a criminal to wrong then arrest. Doing that is incompetency of the rankest order.
When police fail to protect 17 and more Kenyans from a marauding killer then its better such an entity be disbanded. They cannot keep getting monthly salaries when they are not performing their duties.
It is not plausible to totally blame police for failing to arrest this practice. They deserve praise for succeeding in tracking kidnappers using mobile phones and rescuing abductees.
Nonetheless it must accept blame for failing to stop its wanton spread. They now have to bite the bullet in tracking the ‘rich’ criminals and bring this ‘business’ to an immediate halt.

Kidnapping is a booming profitable business and will continue to grow as along as police remain reactive.

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Myths Could Derail a New Constitution

Kenya’s run towards a new constitution is officially in danger. And there are high chances that it could be defeated at the August referendum.

If this happens it will not be because of the ‘ghostly’ insertions made to the document neither will the reason, now controversial, to disallow existence of Kadhi’s courts in the current constitution by three Constitutional Court judges, have a major negative impact.

The two could play a role in the defeat but what seems more prominent to overpower the document are the ‘lies’, well captured by Daily Nation as ‘Myths’, being wittingly bandied around by both Yes and No crusaders.

After Parliament passed the draft, politicians, both senior and junior, have been tempted to deliberately mislead the public in a twisted effort to gain more ground from their opponents.

Those in the No camp have featured prominently among those reported as peddling lies about several clauses in the draft.

The Daily Nation, a local newspaper, has done exemplary well in chronicling these falsities peddled by politicians and deserves praise for juxtaposing verbatim clauses from the proposed set of laws against such untruths. Higher Education minister, William Ruto is among the top in propagating misleading interpretations, at least, according to what the Nation has reported. Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka have in many occasions found themselves in this group which include a host of politicians and church leaders.

It is unfortunate that blatant misinterpretations have been allowed to go on without the Committee of Experts, the group tasked with educating Kenyans on the draft before they vote, rising up to defend the document. The Constitution Review Act (2008) gives CoE the mandate to carry out civic education across the country. This legal mandate gives them power above all, including vocal politicians who have been criss-crossing the country misinterpreting clauses, to interpret the draft on behalf of voters. With this power the experts ought to be in the forefront to disapprove the wrongs by those who want to invoke rejection from their supporters and sundry.

For now CoE have not done this duty and have left it to politicians in opposite camps to reinterpret the distorted clauses, a trend which might lead to further bending of the parts.

The country is on the brink of getting a new constitution but such a dream, sought after for the past two decades, risk being thwarted by well-coordinated lying by some people not ready to have a new constitutional order.

It is fair to give free space for everyone to express their interpretations but when some misuse this special prerogative then mechanisms to protect voters from their ill motives are inevitable. CoE, therefore, should break their silence on this before the whole document is distorted.

Such misinterpretations, especially on contentious clauses, could scare away most people who are pro-new constitution.

This time round it is not a lack of political will to pass the document but its misinterpretation that may lead it to its defeat. It will be in the interest of fairness for all constitution making stakeholders to restrain themselves from giving misleading interpretations.

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