SHAW: Shameful start of the year with negative energy ravaging nation - Daily Nation

Shameful start of the year with negative energy ravaging nation

Tuesday February 13 2018

Miguna Miguna deportation

Lawyer Miguna Miguna (centre) at Kajiado Law Courts on February 6, 2018, where he was arraigned before he was later ejected to Canada. The past few weeks have been a rather shameful and ignominious chapter in this country’s modern history. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ROBERT SHAW
More by this Author

The past few weeks have been a rather shameful and ignominious chapter in this country’s modern history.

The blame lies with all who have participated in the shenanigans that went on regardless of whether they be Raila Odinga, Fred Matiang’i, Miguna Miguna or Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet.

All of them have expended inexorable quantities of negative time and energy, which have left the country even more scarred, divided and exhausted than before.

It often came across as political showmanship and brinkmanship combined with bad-tempered sparring of egos.

Even worse, much of it was carried out by people who are on the government payroll tirelessly paid for by the citizens’ taxes.

REBUILD NATION

It was done at a time when we should all have been rebuilding a nation fatigued by endless election campaign politics and the consequences of prolonged drought and embracing the many challenges we are facing.

It has made President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pledge of working towards a more inclusive and less-divided country look farcical.

Some would argue that it was a cunning plot by Nasa leader Odinga and company to coax and provoke the Jubilee administration into a trap that it marched right into. But it gets much worse.

How the Jubilee administration dealt with it has echoes and hallmarks of the country’s dark past.

The repressive hand of the State was there albeit in different forms.

In the 1980s and much of the 1990’s, I recall media heads and journalists spent a lot of their time self-censoring their work so as not to offend Big Brother.

INSTRUCTIVE

I personally recall one time in 1994 when I wrote a piece on how public land, forests included, were being excised and grabbed by the political elite and then turned into ill-gotten private property often to be sold for mega sums of money.

Such was the heat of the subject that it took the paper a whole month to publish it.

Comparing then to now is instructive for all, the government included.

Then, the government had a firm hold on the relatively small media space and only had to pull the leash to make it heal.

Today, the media are like a global octopus. 

If you switch off some television signals via the Communication Authority of Kenya you are only restricting those avenues controlled and regulated by it. Many people continued watching it via social media.

Other fundamentals have changed as well.

FEAR GONE

There may still be subjugation by the relevant authorities, but the culture of fear has largely gone.

People are not afraid to be more open with their comments and criticisms.

The majority of Kenyans voted for a new Constitution in 2010 and with it came more checks and balances and respect for separation of powers.

One of the more notable of the latter has been the fostering of the independence of the Judiciary.

This government has openly defied the latter when it refused to put the three blocked TV stations back on the air and also decline to produce before the courts certain people that had been held incommunicado.

SHAMEFUL

This was both crude and shameful. Indeed, it was an illegality that will come back and haunt this government throughout its tenure.

 It has also damaged our image and reputation as a country, as we have inched closer to the ‘bandit state’ bracket. Neither the government nor the opposition can claim victory.

The people of Kenya have borne the brunt of this ugly debacle.

Now, let us get back to moving the country and its economy forward, creating many more jobs and gainful opportunities, making basic health facilities more accessible, and so on.

Last but not least, let us foster more harmony and inclusivity.

 

Mr Shaw is a public policy and economic analyst: [email protected]