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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Heavy Loss For Government As 2 Media Bills Are Shelved

It was announced late today that President Kibaki has officially declined to sign the media bill and has already written to the speaker of the house giving his reasons for refusing to sign it. He basically repeats what many MPs who voted for the bill already knew and what we have been saying here for weeks—that it contradicts key parts of the constitution.

At the same time Communication Minister Muahi Kagwe told newsmen today that the government has withdrawn the even-more-damaging-to-press-freedom CCK Amendment Act Bill. The minister says that the bill will be re-drafted.

It is unlikely that either bill will make it back to parliament before the elecetions.

That is 3 losses for the government of national unity in a space of about a week. I have included the ill fated bill meant to create new constituencies but sugar-coated with 50 extra seats for women. Going into an election this is very serious. In fact a crisis of sorts.

Just consider the man-hours and resources expended pushing and sponsoring 3 bills that were clearly not a good idea considering the corner the government has worked itself into.

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For those who doubted, this is a clear indicator of just how powerful the media is, and how it is an extremely lousy idea to try and mess up with the fourth estate during an election year. The truth is that the full consequences of this very bad idea are yet to be felt and can only be fully analyzed in January 2008.

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