And so, the inevitable has happened. After five years of Jubilee’s astonishing debt-fuelled binge, Kenya is now officially in an IMF bailout programme. As the government struggles to raise Ksh 284 billion for debt repayments this year alone, the austerity knife will make deep, long cuts into jobs and budgets. With private sector investment on its knees, Jubilee’s spending jamboree has already eaten Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘Big Four Agenda’ children. DAVID NDII gives a sobering prognosis.
The labyrinthine character of the self-preserving and self-perpetuating incestuous commercial and political relationships that characterise the Kenyan elite is playing out like a choreographed Kabukiesque theatre composed of handshakes of and photo-ops in short scenes. This series of normalised taboos flawed Kenya’s last election has entered into a new Act of deal-making and compromises that at once leave the Kenyan audience aghast and mesmerised write MUTHONI WANYEKI
Once the boardroom was willing to trade the newsroom for the next big corporate deal, a cycle of bad news set in, its grave consequences on the public discourse increasingly obvious to all. We left, says KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA, to make a statement for the values that had once sustained a vibrant media in Kenya.
Withdrawing her column after 11 years, RASNA WARAH refutes allegations made by the editors of the Nation Media Group that she, along with seven of her colleagues who resigned en masse, did it either to increase her notoriety or to score political points. To the contrary, she explains, a culture that increasingly stifled editorial independence and victimised principled voices, has pervaded a once-independent media house, threatening to muzzle free expression.
Loud and boisterous, tall and intimidating, Miguna’s militant opposition laid bare the crisis of legitimacy facing Jubilee. ‘Deportation’, that tried and tested silencing tactic of so many colonial and post-colonial regimes, was employed. But it only deepens the crisis. For many young people in the aftermath of the August elections, Miguna’s unambiguous resistance to the establishment has stirred a deep-seated radicalism that will not easily disappear. By KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA
Full of passionate intensity, Mr Matiang’i has cast himself as the victim in the government’s stand-off with the courts over Mr Miguna. As a bemused Parliament watches in fascinated silence, the Jubilee administration’s contempt for the law may release anarchy upon us, with citizens choosing which laws to follow, and which not to. By MAINA KIAI.
On April 4, Brig (rtd) Julius Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party was declared the winner of the March 31 run-off with 51.8 per cent of the vote.
The passing of one of the Freedom Struggle’s most iconic figures inspired another bout of white-media vilification. Assailed for her un-silence, her refusal to compromise with the deal-makers of the new Rainbow Nation, Winnie Mandela’s life, and death, will forever remain the un-dimmed light for African and feminist struggles everywhere. By RASNA WARAH.
An astute political entrepreneur, Raila long recognised the deeply transactional nature of Kenyan politics, and leveraged his struggle bona fides and his popular appeal for ethnic slices of the political pie. In salvaging Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term, however, has he done one trade too many?
For strongmen seeking office, the facade of competitive elections provides an important reputational asset. For the others facing real competition, procuring the services of Western spin doctors, who now deploy big data propaganda to engineer electoral consent, is now not just a cute fashion item, it is a strategic imperative. Whatever the case, the Cambridge Analyticas of this world may not demand payments upfront, says GABRIELLE LYNCH, but they almost always return for their pound of flesh.
Has the fourth Estate compromised its independence? Brown envelope journalists and editors, who believe in and propound the political (and ethnic) divisions of the day now fill the newsroom. “Small sacrifices” on their part has led to self-censorship. They have today betrayed their audiences and the very pillars of democracy which they were created to uphold. MUTHONI WANYEKI delivers a prescient message against the purveyors of silence.
Did the Jubilee government loot $20 billion during its first term? The equivalent of 10 Eurobond issuances, the money has disappeared from the government’s loan portfolio. Technically broke by its own admission, Treasury has blamed, unconvincingly, everything from devolution to the wage bill for the state of its finances. DAVID NDII delivers another damning indictment against the pirates of pillage.