Thursday, January 8, 2009



Wednesday, January 7 2009

President Kibaki on Wednesday bowed to pressure and changed his stand on the anti-media law, which he signed last week.

After consulting some members of the Cabinet, he directed Attorney General Amos Wako and Information minister Samuel Poghisio to prepare amendments that will restore press freedom.

The President’s decision came after a series of meetings with senior members of his Cabinet who were concerned about the negative reputation the Government was getting because of the anti-media law.

Losing public support

The main concern was that the President and his supporters, some of who hope to succeed him when he retires in 2012, were losing public support to their ODM rivals.

The last of the meetings that started on Tuesday took place on Wednesday at Harambee House, Nairobi. It was agreed that the Government should take charge of the process of reviewing the Kenya Communication (Amendment) Act 2008 and take the initiative from ODM and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who have been opposed to the law.

Sources named those who attended the meeting as Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Internal Security minister George Saitoti, Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi and Nairobi Metropolitan Development minister Mutula Kilonzo.

After the talks, the Presidential Press Service released a statement saying the President had listened to the media industry’s concerns on the new law and had directed Mr Wako and Mr Poghisio to study the issues and draft amendments that will be tabled before the Cabinet for approval.

Said the PPS statement: “President Kibaki has today directed the Attorney General and the minister for Information and Communication to study amendments members of the media have proposed to the Kenya Communication (Amendment) Act, 2008 and the Kenya Communications Act.”

After they agree with the media stakeholders, Mr Wako and Mr Poghisio were directed to take the amendments to the Cabinet.

“The President has further directed that the Attorney General and Minister for Information and Communications should bring appropriate recommendations on the proposed amendments to the Cabinet for consideration,” the statement said.

However, the first signs of changing tunes at State House did not mean that the war against offensive clauses in the law had been won, given the steps that have to be taken before independence of the media can be guaranteed.

The quickest approach would have been for the President to decline signing the Media Bill into law and sending it back to Parliament with a memorandum seeking to have the offensive sections amended.

But he signed the Bill into law on Friday and explained that media concerns that targeted Section 88 of the Act should be addressed separately because the section was part of the parent law, the Kenya Communications Act of 1998.

At the time, the President said that his refusal to sign the Bill would not have solved the problem. In his view, Section 88 was not part of the amendments. He advised that the offensive section be addressed separately.

However, Mr Odinga and ODM opposed the President’s move and undertook to work on amendments to the Act with the PM describing the law as “ill-advised and a bad legislation.” They argued that the country should not be taken back to the dark days of suppression of the media.

On Tuesday, Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch (ODM) filed a motion with the Speaker seeking to delete Section 88 from the Act. Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi, after meeting media owners on Tuesday, said the party would present a list of amendments to the Act during Thursday’s Cabinet meeting.

On Wednesday, ODM MPs met at Orange House and maintained the Act was flawed and would curtail media freedom and should, therefore, be amended.

They proposed that Government spearhead consultations with the media regarding the contentious issues in the Act with a view to drafting amendments. The Information and Communication minister should then move to have a Bill acceptable to the media tabled in Parliament.

But as they were agreeing on the amendments they could table before Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, the President stole the thunder from them when he said he was responding to a letter listing amendments from the Media Owners Association chairman, Mr Linus Gitahi, in December just after Parliament passed the Bill.

The letter was handed to the President by Mr Odinga on the request of Mr Gitahi, the Nation Media Group chief executive officer, who was accompanied by members of the MOA during a courtesy call on the PM in mid December.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Wako held a meeting with representatives of the Media Owners Association, led by Mr Gitahi, secretary Sheila Amdany, Mr Patrick Quarcoo and Mr Leo Slingerland.

AG is studying
“The media owners gave him a memorandum, which the AG is studying and will get in touch with MOA,” said Mr Wako’s spokesman, Mr Dominic Onyango.

Speaking on behalf of media owners, Mr Gitahi called for unity between the two sides so that any future amendments to the Communication (Amendment) Act can succeed in Parliament. “We must reach out to everybody so that this issue has the highest chance of success once it hits the floor of Parliament,” he said.

The Editors Guild welcomed the President’s gesture and said they were willing to attend the stakeholders meeting on the offensive Act.


Submitted by scanfish
Posted January 08, 2009 05:04 PM

Kenyans are so incredibly dishonest. Why are they blaming Kibaki for signing the bill when it is clearly stated by law that bills only go to him after parliament APPROVES them? How then did it become Kibaki's fault? He signed the bill, so what? Why are ODM supporters not asking their MPs to account for their action/inaction when the bills were in parliament? Please grow up and stop turning this into a party contest.Bure Kabisa.

Submitted by naliweliwalo
Posted January 08, 2009 04:51 PM

Please do not think that Kibaki is changing his stance by considering amendments to the anti-media law. His directions to the AG and Phoghisio are similar to the numerous commissions of inquiry that have never achieved anything! The bill has been passed, please brace yourself!

Submitted by Andre2007
Posted January 08, 2009 04:42 PM

What is with this Kikuyu thing of defending the indefensible? Kibaki has gone beyond his sale by date and should just retire. And if he thinks he is doing this to woo Kenyans to back his succesor, read Uhuru Kenyatta, then he is sorely mistaken. Kikuyu has rode the backs of Kenyans for a long time and now its time for fresh air!

Submitted by lord of the rings
Posted January 08, 2009 04:32 PM

This about turn by kibaki just goes to show his management style is woeful.Its a wonder the country is still functioning.If u plan to do something,stick to it.

Submitted by Dauddy
Posted January 08, 2009 04:29 PM

Evidently most of you commenting here have not read the law that was passed, just like the MPs you are bashing. You are blindly agreeing with the media as they lie to us that this law is about the media; IT IS NOT. Its about ICT for the most part. Don't be part of an attempt to throw the baby with the bath water. As for Orengo, he was very loud in threatening to sue if the law is passed, why havent we seen him in court?

Submitted by gizah
Posted January 08, 2009 04:17 PM
Why would right thinking country in the 21st century stop cross-ownership of the media, a sector that is growing fast.In this age, we do things by choice. If u have money and an audience, why not own everything.If your channel sucks you get no audience, we dont get forced to comment here, -we come here because the other sites suck-eg the stone-age KBC web site.

Submitted by wanasen
Posted January 08, 2009 03:56 PM
Someone said..Mtakumbuka Moi? I think the time to remember the retired president is here with us..I try to compare that time and now..ahii..Kibaki is confused, being mislead by his friends in PNU kila wakati..Mr President am shamed of you..I didnt think the best gift for the year was the signing of the bill and yet now that ODM is becoming more popular in public.. you suddenly change your mind..for your friends benefit..wasichukiwe na wananchii...Achia Raila sasa, umechoka enyewe.

Submitted by gathoni
Posted January 08, 2009 03:07 PM
One man cannot take the blame for all. What is the minister of Roads doing for our roads? What is the minister of health, of agriculture, of security, of education, of youth development etc.. doing for Kenyans? We should think Kenyan/East African/African.

Submitted by syindumyaki
Posted January 08, 2009 02:54 PM
Section 88, of the parent Act does not belong in the 21 c and shd be repealed. Lets have a comprehensive review of both Acts so that we can come up with a better law for posterity. I hope the media owners will be involved in the exercise every step of the way.

Submitted by Obwakemwatugul
Posted January 08, 2009 02:10 PM
Most of you in this fora especially those of you Kenyans from Central and Eastern including those in Government now were exemplary advocates of media, human rights, multiparty democracy, nepotism, tribalism, free society, less presidential power, powerful parliament, etc during the MOI era. My friends, what happened when Kibaki became president? What happened, where did the confiction and morale go? who is genuine and real? Does Kenya stand a chance to grow and join the league of the prosperous countries? Is what is happening now the Vision 2030?

Submitted by asma_756
Posted January 08, 2009 02:09 PM
You know - the problem started in Parliament. We can bash Kibaki all we want. But ODM has some really bad leaders who take advantage of every scandal for airtime. Orengo - what are you doing about land? Than attacking Muthaura? Please tell me!

Submitted by gifo
Posted January 08, 2009 01:07 PM
It looks like it's only in Kenya and Zimbabwe where sick leaders are still in power. Does Kibaki know whatever happens around him anyway or we could be blaming him for nothing?Where are the so called legal experts? Insanity does not allow anybody to lead anything.

Submitted by skgitau
Posted January 08, 2009 12:43 PM
While signing the bill Kibaki said that some sections should be addressed separately - he should have returned it to the kitchen bunge to be fixed first. Decisiveness and leadership are short with this man and it's high time he does our country justice. We need progressive leaders, time is nigh and the world is moving fast.

Submitted by johnkariuki1
Posted January 08, 2009 11:44 AM
ODM is a bunch of Hypocrites: They are pretending to be media friendly but cant they see the media is simply using the divisions within the the government to advance their cause? The media in return is overrating the divide within government and making the government look like the bad guy after failing to win the Kenyans support in their 'fight'. How can we support you after inciting kenyans against each other and causing the bloodshed of last year? You can win on this one but you will forever pay for your misdeeds

Submitted by NorbertK
Posted January 08, 2009 11:20 AM
Whether its a bad law or not, the media has behaving like spoilt brats. They should grow up and get their act together. There is no professionalism in the local media, I even wonder whether there is a professional code of conduct for media practioners. Someone said that media should be societies watchdog but not politicians lapdog, to me it seems they've become the latter. But since they aggitated someone and the balance was upset, now what we are witnessing is a fight between 2 supposed to be important arms of societies but at the moment dysfunctional.

Submitted by Obwakemwatugul
Posted January 08, 2009 11:06 AM
Don't you think it is a useless allegation that media is propagating phorno? I live in a Europe and in this country phorno adverts is aired live on TVs. Actually, the internet is the greatest phorno ground for youth to spend their time this days. The minister should redirect his efforts in controlling cyber phorno rather than accussing it of media. In my own experienced judgement, Kenya media is among the best globally.

Submitted by onyangofred2
Posted January 08, 2009 10:49 AM
Why accept then refuse? Playing with our minds again. These guys are "buying time",. The big question is, what are they buying time for? We'll spends a couple of months before the changes are implemented. But until then, there's something cooking. WHO'S THE CHEF?

Submitted by sinyaberi
Posted January 08, 2009 10:46 AM
Those to be blamed are the MPs who passed the bill thus why the preso is passing the for me none is innocent. By the way why are all parliametians backing it ? who passed it? why are they not talking about their tax free salary?

Submitted by iawe
Posted January 08, 2009 10:17 AM
These politicians are simply involved in their usual kindergarten school yard games. They seem to be bent on precipitating crises from time to time in order to create opportunities for testing each others might. Are they involved in a grand scheme designed to distract our attention from the pertinent issues of the day? Unemployment is high, economic growth has plummetted, IDPs, their refusal to be taxed, constitutional making, actualising Vision 2030 etc. They should be working on the aforementioned matters not this chess game of theirs.

Submitted by
Posted January 08, 2009 09:57 AM
Wrong kkebuchi. There is only one source of state power at a time. There are multiple competitive sources of media all the time. If there was a media monopoly you might have a point. Free speech is at the core of democracy. It cannot be tampered with. Period.

Submitted by gocho
Posted January 08, 2009 09:44 AM
Why do we only see the President and not the MPs who passed the bill in Parliament. I think thats a lesson we learn for electing MPs with limited knowledge and dictators who later set laws for us and expect the President to sign,

Submitted by jmarka04
Posted January 08, 2009 09:22 AM
when signing the media bill into law, Kibaki gave a lengthy explanation of why the bill was excellent,he also noted that the MOA had not raised genuine concerns over the same, now what has changed...either he signed the bill hurriedly or he doesnt know what he is doing both of which shows he's simply incompetent

Submitted by mdie
Posted January 08, 2009 09:07 AM
Sorry Mr president but it seems that your advisers have been misleading you very badly. I understand its not your fault but all the same the accident took a big impact on your cpu,because you are confusing us big time with your decisions.Try and do what is right at least once in your sitting error.

Submitted by tmghendi
Posted January 08, 2009 08:45 AM
As the article rightly states: "The main concern was that the President and his supporters...were losing public support to their ODM rivals." It is not because the President has suddenly seen the light. He and his government are displaying the same arrogance we saw after the election fiasco - 'Let us go on with our plans, after we are set, we can invite these guys for talks' Implementation of the new law should be suspended before the media joins in any such talks.

Submitted by ronns
Posted January 08, 2009 07:23 AM
I still ask, did we not give ODM a serious majority in parliament? Please! save us the theatrics. Munatulet down. Mungesema hayo yote kule bunge.

Submitted by musaufelix
Posted January 08, 2009 04:58 AM
The media should also be responsive to whatever infomration they present.Let them mind about especially the age bracket as per the timings of the programs,especially on TV.They should also deal expenditiously with some corrupt journalists.

Submitted by Hillaryio
Posted January 08, 2009 04:54 AM
If ODM really cared for the Kenyan people other than the 2012 elections, they would have held crisis meetings in regard to IDPs and their bloated allowances that is tax free! Just a bunch of pretenders who are happy that the president signed the bill so that they can a political mileage out of Ignorant Kenyans who are easily fooled around. When they say they never contributed to the passing of that crazy bill, who are they playing with? And yet come 2012 some of them will be in hague answering tough questions.

Submitted by siafu7000
Posted January 08, 2009 04:46 AM
Yo Prezzo hats off to you I think that you are on the right track atleast we have some form of understanding. The govt and the media pple should meet in the middle. In a way there are some legislators who are for the media bill to go through because they are dirty and were at one time exposed and now they feel like its time for a comeback.

Submitted by owinoh
Posted January 08, 2009 04:31 AM
We have succeeded with minimal effort to become a nation of hecklers. I really wonder whether the press or those commenting on the so called "media bill" have read the act. Be it as it may, the govt still has powers of "censorship, control or prohibition of the communication of any information, or of any means of communicating or of recording ideas or information, including any publication or document, and the prevention of the dissemination of false reports" thanks to Cap 57 - Preservation of Public Security.

Submitted by wilsonoketdh
Posted January 08, 2009 04:28 AM
I said earlier and I still stick to my point that Kenyan MP'S never took time to read the media bill before voting for it. Were they drunk? Now they are sober! I read the bill and honestly I like some part of the a part from section 88. I believe section 88 needs to be a mended otherwise we will go back to old days. MP's read any bill that comes to the paliament before passing it otherwise you will look like a bunch of confused people. Kenyans are relying on you come on!

Submitted by stoo70
Posted January 08, 2009 04:15 AM
I would advise Kibaki to always think twice, I think that is what our poor president is lacking, otherwise Kenya will be moving towards a better position of economic and international understanding at a faster rate

Submitted by ikiplagat
Posted January 08, 2009 03:40 AM

once again, Raila 1: Kibaki 0

Submitted by bobcat
Posted January 08, 2009 03:35 AM
Yes thats right, he didn't reverse it out of conscience, just for the sake of political mileage over his rival, such is the convivtion of our leaders

Submitted by wuod_aketch
Posted January 08, 2009 01:47 AM
Somebody told the old man, "sign here" and he did. The PM should sleep eyes wide open surveying Kibaki like boiling milk on fire. Kibaki also knows that ODM will not hesitate to give him a run for his money. If Kibaki can get Muthaura out of the way he can retire a happy man.

Submitted by ganjoni
Posted January 08, 2009 01:08 AM
Time has come that we the public wlill not take any more sh*t from you politicans no more. Let this be a lesson you dont forget Mwai!

Submitted by shitsukane
Posted January 08, 2009 12:39 AM
Another win for odm. The no. 1 seems to be out of touch with the public, a loophole being exploited by some political novices. where are our champions of deocratic stuggle, Kiraitu, Raila, Imanyara, Karua, Orengo etc. This is your chance to exploit. Watch Porghisio, he has a sinister move that should not have place in Kenya.

Submitted by paulo1981
Posted January 08, 2009 12:28 AM
The President's recall of his New Year tyrannical gift of signing the C.Act is not sincere and is an admission of his being senile if not in second childhood. He should have done these consultations before signing he wants to buy time and let the politicians do so while diverting from other important and crucial issues. The amendment will take longer than the enactment. In the meantime, until they correct it, let the media give them a blackout!

Submitted by Wanjiku98
Posted January 08, 2009 12:05 AM
wanmt, free flow of what kind of information?. There are many dimensions to information. We want free flow of decent informative and developmental information not pornography, vanity, crappy politics, incitement and western crap. Media need to know that we want free flow of worth while information contrary to which it need to be regulated big time.

Submitted by gizah
Posted January 07, 2009 11:59 PM
The media has in the past ignored stories of common good and continued covering politicians whims but I would rather a rogue media than a rogue political regime.

Submitted by masu_mbuko
Posted January 07, 2009 11:19 PM
So, the way to get government action is for ODM to spearhead it? Government (PNU) will then impliment to steal the thunder, right? Over to you P.M., many projects await, start with IDPs and roads!

Submitted by muthinja1
Posted January 07, 2009 11:09 PM
The Tale of the Twin Government; it is instructive: is ODM therefore basically the Opposition in Government, there to lend credibility to an illegitimate regime? Explains lots. When politics takes dangerous turns, like we see not service delivery but stategesing beyond 2012 here. Shame Pres. Kibaki is playing old Moi's games, Kenyans aren't stupid anymore.

Submitted by JeffyJeff
Posted January 07, 2009 11:07 PM
Finally, it seems kibbs is getting something right... Why anyone in their right mind would sign something to retrogressive escapes me.

Submitted by arapmoi
Posted January 07, 2009 10:56 PM
Decisiveness is paramount in leadership. Why would a president sign the media bill into law just to change his mind? Also why would MPs pass a bill in parliament just to distance themselves from it? This is a good dip stick to measure the quality of our leaders.

Submitted by kkebuchi
Posted January 07, 2009 10:48 PM
Why do the media think they are above all laws and regulations? Its like media dictatorship now.

Submitted by MichaOlga
Posted January 07, 2009 10:39 PM
Eeeeh! Because he realized that he was gonna look like the bad guy and Raila would look better than him?

Submitted by gaciru
Posted January 07, 2009 10:25 PM
Amendments are necessary but the government should remain firm on restricting media porn.

Submitted by wanmt
Posted January 07, 2009 10:20 PM
Good gesture but we believe the new act is a bad law and should be repealed. The new constitition should incorporate media freedom in it whenever it is enacted to ensure no body interferes with free flow of information which is necessay for development. No media freedom means strangled development.