- The main task of the first government elected after passage of the new Constitution was to simply implement it.This Kenyatta led Jubilee government is doing the exact opposite – dismantling the popularly endorsed Constitution chapter by chapter!
- Take the media freedoms guaranteed under the new Constitution for instance. While Article 34 of the Constitution mandates the government to keep off media, Kenyatta is discombobulating it word by word and replacing it with clauses entrenching repression and censorship. The government must have no business determining media content – any self regulation (not by government) should only regard ethics and professional standards!
- In a classic con game, Kenyatta recently deceived the public that he was “changing” the draconian electronic media Bill passed by his Jubilee sycophants in parliament when in fact all he has done is dictate a reworded and still repressive (& unconstitutional) bill back to the same Jubilee-controlled parliament. This conmanship exposes plain presidential dictatorship –which Kenyatta expects to be endorsed by his rubber-stamp parliament.
- Through an authoritarian power-grab, Kenyatta has arrogated himself (Presidency) the power to punish unfriendly journalists and media houses via a government-controlled tribunal (that he himself appoints). This is not what Kenyans passed in their new Katiba!
- Himself a media owner, and through blatant conflict-of-interest, Kenyatta has also proposed to grab the powers to make policy guidelines to the Communications Authority (the replacement of the former Communications Commission of Kenya). This he intends to do via his hand-picked Information and Communications Cabinet Secretary. This proposal will give Kenyatta – a competitor in the broadcast industry – the powers to singularly issue broadcasting licenses and the power to manage use of airwaves. We are essentially allowing the creation of an Imperial Presidency right in front of our eyes – paradoxically under the brand new Constitution!
- How Kenyatta proposes to “weed out” his competitors and unfriendly media houses is by simply having the power to control who sits in the Communications Authority board and the new media ngoroko (police) called the Communications and Multimedia Tribunal. If the Star Newspaper, for instance, reports something Kenyatta does not like, he would simply have someone complain to the Kenyatta-appointed board, which then forwards the complaint to Kenyatta’s tribunal, which then mets out punishment to Star’s reporters and the newspaper itself. Fines for individual journalists are in the range of Shs 500,000 while Kenyatta’s competitor media houses are to be fined 20 million shillings per “offense”. It’s as simple as that – plain censorship and authoritarianism.
- There is also a serious anti-trust business element by the Kenyatta family. Like its dominance in the milk sector, Kenyatta is aiming to use his position as president to monopolize media over his competitors.