Saturday, 2 November 2013


What Kenyans need to focus their attention on now is what the government is so desperate to hide from the public. That is where this whole phobia from the press originates from and is driven by. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will review a press law passed by parliament that has sparked outrage among the media, his spokesman said Saturday, promising not to "gag" journalists.

If passed into law the bill, which must first be approved by Kenyatta, would lead to huge fines against journalists and media organisations that violated a code of conduct.

Kenyatta "will review (the) media bill to ensure it is consistent" with the constitution, and will "talk with stakeholders if changes (are) needed,"

Corrupt deals? Unlikely. That is stale, harmless information. Everybody knows that mega-corruption is alive and well in Kenya today. So we have to look elsewhere. National assembly majority leader Aden Duale is a character difficult to understand. Just a few weeks ago he shocked everybody (including his own party) when he said that former President Mwai Kibaki should be arrested for orchestrating an oil deal which he claims put Kshs 15 billion in the pockets of the former president and his cronies. But he just floored me yesterday when I heard him move a new bill that essentially shuts down the press in Kenya. However analysts say he was just following instructions in a carefully choreographed script that sneaked in a bill that would make even Breshnev from old Russia blush.

Daniel arap Moi ruled Kenya for 24 long years. He jailed and maimed journalists BUT he never EVER introduced a single bill in parliament to reign in the press. Mwai Kibaki ruled Kenya only for 10 short years but introduced a total of 4 bills aimed solely at trimming down the powers (real and imagined) of the critical fourth estate.

Yesterday parliament passed a bill that effectively shuts down free media in the country. What you need to know is the fact that President Uhuru Kenyatta has retained many of Kibaki’s closest advisors (the security team for instance is intact) and the idea is to continue on the same path as his predecessor in a few key areas. Naturally top on their agenda is the “annoying press.”

There was such secrecy in the drafting and preparation of the bill coupled with the fact that it was carefully introduced when many vocal CORD legislators and level headed JUBILEE members were not in the house. This press shut down law was passed only by 60 members in a house with over 400.

Most Kenyans do not believe that the president will pick a pen with his left hand and appended his signature on the bill. Now why wouldn’t he when the bill was hatched crafted and plotted through parliament from State house? Our only hope are some “annoying” level headed the advisors that the president insists on retaining who may just persuade him that the huge political capital he will gain from not signing the bill will be worth rubbishing all the hard work that was put into it that started way back during Kibaki’s presidency.

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