Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is this President Kibaki's New Year gift for Kenyans?

It has finally dawned that despite protests from majority of Kenyans, the president has assented to the repressive communication amendment Bill into law the second day of January 2009. Politically, he has started the year on a wrong footing with Kenyans as well as a likely collision course with his grand coalition partner, Prime Minister Raila Odinga who persistently stood against the Bill in and outside parliament.

 The Prime Minister has been boxed into a corner. Where shall he hide his face after openly reassuring Kenyans and stakeholders in the media fraternity that he will persuade the president to reconsider sending the Bill back to parliament for amendments? Raila has always insisted that the freedom gains our country has made cannot be reversed by signing into law, a draconian Bill.

This will bring to the fore the power sharing circus between the president and the prime Minister which might augur negatively to the stability of the Grand Coalition Government. Many ODM MPs will also feel betrayed by the president. Realizing the flaws of the Bill after it was passed in parliament, the MPs publicly appealed to the president not to assent to it.

 President Kibaki whose second term presidency is compounded with controversies would have thought better not destroy our freedom gains since 1991. The Country is in a process of healing after the tragedies that followed the announcement of Kibaki’s re-election in December 2007.

 It’s a tragedy to his legacy as a second and last term president, and a tragedy to the course of freedom in Kenyan. The Bill might end up affecting him as he is fond of using obscene epithets like “Mavi ya Kuku” to Kenyans. Its only dictators in repressive regimes like: Iran , Sudan , Libya and Zimbabwe who benefits when the media is gagged.

 Why has the president subjected Kenyan journalists to operate with phobia when delivering news to Kenyans? Under the Bill, journalists are likely to fear legal suits from the ruling elite over any sensitive news content; which is a double tragedy to our constitutional freedom and their professional growth. One big question in the minds of Kenyans is why the president failed to read the public mood and learn that the Bill is not good for the country.

 Indeed, we understand parliament was the first one to betray Kenyans by passing the Bill but for the president to assent to it is a negation of his statesmanship. If the MPs made a mistake, to pass the Bill in Parliament, the president would have exercised good judgement. He didn’t have a locus standi to repeat the MPs same mistake. If he followed the advice of his cronies, many of them media haters, it’s a self a betrayal as the country’s head of state.

 It will be self betrayal and poor judgement Kibaki, followed the advice of cronies who many of them are media haters to sign the Bill. Good leadership is about making decisions that are beneficial to the nation not embracing friends or family members. The President would have remembered that he is a success story of the media’s efforts. When he quit Kanu in 1992, to launch DP for his presidential bid, it’s the media who introduced him to the Kenyan voters.

As a Vice president under Moi’s dictatorial rule, Kibaki was a mere follower, who feared to speak his mind. Secondly, in the year 2002 Rainbow revolution, Country was for political change and the media stood by Kibaki and he won the presidency. These are events that the president would have put in mind before signing the Bill into law.

 With the signed Bill in place, we are likely to see a repeat of what happened to the Standard media Group and the first lady’s night escapade at Nation Centre where she harassed journalists.

 The best remedy to safeguard our freedom is for the nationalists who suffered for the nation’s second liberation to stand with Kenyans and the media fraternity to say no the Poghisio Bill.

Laws are not carved on stones; when passed, they can be amended in order to safeguard the interests of the nations. Mr. Paul Muite, Kivuta Kibwana, Martin Shikuku, Koigi Wa Mwere, George Nthenge, Charles Rubia, Timothy Njoya, and even our ailing Stanley Njindo Matiba amongst others should come out to help our nation which is reversing slowly to the dark past under the current government.

 The struggle is far from over. We are being robbed our freedom by the men and women we gave the mandate to represent us one year a go.
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