Inside a tv studio after government switched off the media. PHOTO/ Citizen Tv
BY SIMIYU SIMIYU | TWITTER: @wakajuaness
The shutting of Kenya’s leading television stations CITIZEN, NTV, KTN Home and KTN News ahead of today’s ‘swearing-in’ ceremony for NASA Leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka has caught many of us off-guard.
Prior to this controversial event, the Jubilee Government has insisted that it would not allow the event to take place, citing unconstitutionalism of the swearing-in.
Though President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for the second term after a widely-critisized election last year, the NASA brigade has maintained it won the August 2017 general election that was nullified by the Supreme Court after announcing Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner.
However, NASA withdrew from the repeat election citing a patisan electoral body, giving way for Uhuru to sail to “free” victory in an election that only attracted a paltry 39 per cent voter turn out.
In the repeat election, the government send police officers to the opposition strong-holds during the anti-IEBC demos and allegedly killing dozens of unarmed citizens on the streets with live bullets. This shows how the government was determined to hold onto power.
The shooting of the opposition supporters aired on our national televisions attracted international criticism with leaders calling on President Uhuru to avoid using force on peaceful protestors.
Late last year, when the NASA leader Raila Odinga was jetting back to the country, the police allegedly attacked thousands of peaceful supporters who had gone to welcome their leader. Close to seven people died in those clashes. The anti-riot police had to shamefully retreat after being overwhelmed by the brave supporters.
The incident was widely watched as local and international media that aired it live, giving President Uhuru Kenyatta a bad name across the world.
Then came Dec 12th 2017 during Jamuhuri Day Celebrations; as Uhuru and Ruto were leading the country in the holiday, fete, NASA Leader Raila Odinga Odinga was planning to be ‘sworn in’ at Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi.
Again, the media covered part of the clashed between the police and NASA supporters where several people were short dead including a 7 year old Godfrey Mutinda.
This time round, the government has vowed to stop Raila’s swearing-in fete that is meant to protest the electoral justice that Uhuru and his government has apparently refused to reform.
This is what has prompted the former Premier to force a swearing-in ceremony as the ‘People’s President’. This follows strong support from the coalition’s County Governments that have already passed the bills in solidarity with the People’s Assembly aimed at bringing electoral reforms in the country.
Today, something unusual happened: the government withdrew the anti-riot police officers from the venue even after vowing to stop the event. Many louded the president for this mature gesture until it was followed by shutting of the leading media stations from airing the event.
It will be remembered that on Friday, a section of media owners and editors were allegedly summoned at the Statehouse and warned against broadcasting the event even without the knowledge of the Editors Guild chairman Mr Linus Kaikai.
The question is, if the government is not planning to act inhumanly, why is it denying 40M kenyans a chance to know what is happening at Uhuru Park? Why is the government controling the media when in real sense, the media is supposed to be an independent body?
As we speak, Kenyans are now worried that this could be a plot by the government to massacre the more than 80,000 NASA supporters who have endured cold nights and miles in buses to access the venue and witnesses their leaders speak to them.
With this kind of behaviour, the government is feared to butcher NASA supporters who have peaceful gathered at Uhuru Park freely without the fear of being broadcasted live by the keen media.
Worse so, the government has not issued any statement following the switching off of the media nor stated the duration the blackout will last.
If mass killing happens at Uhuru park, definitely the government will keep shutting the media as blood is shed for as long as it takes without other Kenyans from the rest of the country realising what is happening.
The shutting of the media clearly shows the government is not up to any good unless it comes out and explains to Kenyans it’s motive.
Otherwise, this has only raised tension across the country and the ghosts of the 2007/2008 post-election violence that left 1,133 people dead and 600,000 others displaced, should not visit us again.
NB: The views expressed here are solely of the writer and not a representation of Wakajuaness.Com.