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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Great Irreparable Damage The Media Bill Has Done To Kibaki's Re-election Campaign

Wako Finally Admits The Obvious

Even as members of Kenya’s fourth estate staged a dramatic demonstration in Nairobi this afternoon, (did I spot Kumekucha somewhere?) while symbolically gagged with tape and cloth, serious questions are being asked in relation to the folly of the whole exercise of the infamous Media Bill.

After days in which AG Amos Wako claimed he was studying the media bill he has finally come out and admitted that it is fatally flawed, and he will accordingly advice the president not to sign it.

Firstly the AG who knows a lot more law than Kumekucha did not need so many days to find the obvious. I would have saved him a lot of reading had he asked me because I would have told him straight up that it was flawed and the reasons why.

But then that was not the real issue here, my friends. What was going on was lots of consultations behind the scenes with the powers that be who finally gave him permission to announce the obvious. The truth is that many flawed bills have been passed by parliament and signed into laws in the past, including the last media amendment made in the twilight of the Moi days that raised the amount of the surety bond that a publisher needs to execute from Kshs 10,000 to Kshs one million as well as raising the damages to be paid by aggrieved parties to the crazy figure of Kshs 20 million, among other highly unconstitutional and illegal amendments. Still it is now law.

So the issue of the bill being flawed was not really the major one here. What was major was whether it was going to be signed into law by the President.

As I have said here before, it was crystal clear from day one that somebody was pushing, very hard from behind the scenes for the creation of the media bill, even as other more pressing matters were shoved aside. That pressure was coming from the President's kitchen cabinet whose power is usually greatly reduced in an election year and especially as the elections draw nearer and the president's campaign doesn't look like it is doing too good, as is the case here.

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Make no mistake about it, any politician messing with the media in an election year is committing terrible suicide. To put it more bluntly; you don't f*** with the media in an election year. You just don't!!

The truth is that even as the powerful Kibaki insiders look like they are now retreating at this eleventh hour with their tails firmly between their legs, great irreparable damage has already been done. I personally know of a half a dozen previously Kibaki votes that have evaporated courtesy of this ill-advised media bill. You can be sure that there are many others country-wide.

The question that many voters are asking themselves is what does the Kibaki administration have to hide, so desperately pushing for media regulation just before the election?

Even communication minister Mutahi Kagwe sounded tired and nervous answering questions from the press about the controversial bill yesterday. My wild guess is that he is irritated because he advised against it but was ignored and ended up just following orders in pushing it. You tend to get really angry when they tide turns and you are proved right.

I will say what I have often said here again. Does the person or persons running president's Kibaki's re-election bid really know what they are doing? Already they have made just too many blunders for comfort.

Many commentators here are very fond of repeating the truism that defeating an incumbent president in Africa is very difficult. However let me quickly add the rider; as long as their campaign team does not make too many stupid blunders. The gaffes that have been made and are still being made by the president's men are just too many. They are making former president Moi look very efficient and organized.

Just wait and see what will happen at the ballot box come Decemeber. Many of you will disappear from making comments in this blog and will not be man enough to come back, swallow your pride and admit that you were so wrong.

I hereby put the following promise in writing; If I am proved wrong in the coming polls I will swiftly return here to apologize to all you good people long before January 2008. Kindly do the same.

Finally, the media bill is one more reason why Kenyans should vote out the entire 9th Parliament. Wacha warudi nyumbani wapumzike kunyanyasa waKenya.


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