Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WHAT UHURU NEEDS IS A PROPAGANDA UNIT TO DEAL WITH ESCALATING ODM ASSAULT

The ghost of the 2013 elections debacle is back on our newspaper front pages and trending on our television screens. It seems Kenya is back to where it was during most of last year when the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) escalated its protests against the presidential election results and the Supreme Court ruling that gave victory to Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto of the Jubilee Coalition.

As predicted in this space not too long ago, the "explosive" expose` by KTN investigative journalists, John Alan Namu and Mohamed Ali, detailing what went on behind the scenes during the critical moments following the March 4 polls, is causing disquiet in the corridors of power and generating heated debates among wananchi.

For a while we should expect matters of national interest to be consigned to the back burner and give way to gossips and speculations surrounding the critical and recurring question of who actually won the polls. ODM continues to maintain that Raila Odinga was the winner while Jubilee says Uhuru and Ruto won "squarely and fairly," dismissing any complaints of foul play.

To add fuel to fire is the expected release of a report by the ODM leadership, which it says, will confirm ODM's position. Speculation is that the report will cause a political tsunami. It will shame the Interim Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) which it accuses of conniving with its opponents to rig the elections and question the legitimacy of the Uhuru government.

Already ODM has called for the disbandment of the IEBC and has vowed not to participate in the next polls if a new body was not appointed. Under the constitution, the removal of any commission must go through a process which includes the setting up of a tribunal by the President. The wishes of ODM may, therefore, be far-fetched.

Already, ODM is making hay out of a tape recording alleged to contain the voices of a top IEBC official and an ODM leader that seems to suggest that some people within the electoral body suspected foul play well before polling stations opened.

The Jubilee government has a challenge that requires the attention of more than just a one-man army of Adan Duale, the Majority leader in Parliament. It requires a full-fledged propaganda unit with highly qualified spin doctors to fight off the escalating assault from the opposition which is unlikely to abate in the next three and half years.

Currently, the government is losing the war abroad. The damage Raila Odinga is causing to the image of the Jubilee government through quiet diplomacy as he moves around America delivering lectures is incalculable. Nairobi seems confused as to how to respond to the ODM leader's undefined mission. Although he is only a guest of Boston University, the manner in which he is treated by the some people there amounts to some sort of recognition that he is the legitimate Kenyan leader who is out of State House only because his votes were stolen.

If a well-coordinated propaganda unit was in place such perception would be easy to deal with.

President Daniel Arap Moi had one and it made quite a difference even with all the swirling accusations of human rights abuses against him. President Uhuru needs one and needs one NOW.

And that is my say.