March 2nd, 2006 00:53 EST
Politics of the Animal Farm
Three Standard Media Group of Kenya journalists have spent a second night in police custody following the reporting of a meeting between Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka and the President of Kenya, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki.
Condemning the restraining of the journalists, the Chairman of the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Mr. Ezekiel Mutua has termed the action as ‘government intimidation’ against media houses that seem to be anti-government.
The Standard Media Group Chief Executive Mr. Tom Mshindi has protested the action claiming that the act of reporting the said meeting between MP Kalonzo Musyoka and President Kibaki ‘does not warrant’ the arrest and restraining of the journalists. Further, he said that the government was punishing the media for reporting on issues that, though true, place the government in an ‘uncomfortable’ position.
Prominent lawyer and politician Paul Muite, while condemning the restraining of the journalists and terming the action an infringement of the freedom of press, said that ‘if a crime had been committed’, then the journalists should already have been charged in a court of law'.
Meanwhile, the blame game has intensified with relations to the source of the information as to the supposed meeting between the MP and the President. Langata MP Raila Odinga claims that the government fabricated the story in an effort to scuttle the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which is viewed to be largely responsible for the humiliating defeat the government suffered in November at the referendum polls for the proposed constitution.
On the other hand, MP Kalonzo Musyoka, calling out for the release of the journalists, also said that his sources indicated that the information came from within the ODM alliance in an effort to label him a traitor and draw away his supporters in the event of the 2007 General elections.
All this is happening amidst the raging scandals and investigations into massive economic fraud perpetrated by senior government officials.
It seems to me to be a case very similar to those depicted in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Corruption, propaganda, betrayal, and intensely hateful competition have become the mode of politics in Kenya, and to be fair, many developing nations. Amidst the storm, the common citizen suffers abject poverty, poor health systems, seriously inadequate housing systems, severely handicapped education systems, and even more lacking judicial systems.
Following the 2002 General elections and the toppling of President Daniel Arap Moi from 24 years of rule, the Kenyan populace ranked among the most optimistic populations in the world. A study right now would most likely show them at the bottom of the list in terms of optimism, and probably very high on the list of most cynically pessimistic populations.