When will Kenya Media Houses mature up and start offering quality local content? On Saturday I watched Dr. Alfred Mutua, the Governor of Machakos County, appear on NTV to answer some questions about his newly launched Chap Chap Movement – a movement envisioned to offer the wider Kenya an opportunity to develop “chap chap” following the “success” of the developmental slogan in Machakos. During the interview by Mark Masai, Alfred mentioned several development projects already done in Machakos county including but not limited to providing farmers with seeds and fertilizers, initialization of tap water project in several homes, the several ambulances that ferry the sick to various hospitals within the county and of course the police vehicles that patrol the county. According to Dr. Alfred Mutua, in Machakos county there is no in-patient that shares a bed with another.
During the same news hour, a report by NTV tried to show that the governor was but hot air since several leaders allied to Kalonzo Musyoka described the alleged development projects as mere Public Relations showbiz by the Machakos governor. As an ordinary viewer, I was left with a mental conclusion that Dr. Alfred Mutua is not legit but rather an attention seeking big dreamer lost to the reality of Kenya and her politics. As a critical viewer though, I wondered – What’s the crap with Kenya Media houses?
For example, Dr. Alfred Mutua has constantly given specific numbers of boreholes already dug in Machakos, provided a specific figure for the number of ambulances operating in the county, and has constantly asked those doubting him to go ask any villager in Machakos if their lives aren’t any better thanks to the numerous maendeleo chap chap initiatives that have already been launched in the county. Instead of our media houses led by NTV, KTN and Citizen taking the challenge and camp in Machakos to investigate these alleged development projects and present to us the facts and figures, they instead prefer to interview enemies of Dr. Alfred Mutua who will obviously discredit the governor.
Do you as a citizen know, from independent sources like a free unbiased media house, of any development programmes currently ongoing in any random county against the budget allocated to them? When a county opens a gate that required tens of millions of shillings to construct, how come we only get to know about the project during the ribbon cutting ceremony?
The sluggish journalism doesn’t end at the county politics. Nationally development programs like the SGR do not receive any serious coverage except when politicians like Alfred Keter raise political points on the project. If an ordinary Kenyan sets out to seek informative information on SGR from our media outlets, I am sure he or she will find nothing substantial except the launch dates and the huge cost of the project. We lack serious documentaries on the many (or few – depending on your political inclination) development projects currently underway in Kenya. When should we expect the projects to be complemented? What do the leading Engineers, Environmentalists, Economists, and other policy scientists say will be the immediate and long term impacts of the project on Kenya and her economy?
As we start 2016, there is one important thing the Kenya media houses need to know – many Kenyans are getting tired of empty politics. Yes we still need to know when our taxes are being misused. It is still important to tell us that Shs 140 billion Eurobond cannot be accounted for. And it is still important to raise questions why Cabinet Secretaries suspended from office over six months ago aren’t already in jail, but what’s more important to most young Kenyans is what is happening – not in mere 2 minutes news highlights, but in detailed documentaries showcasing the projects in progress.
Kenyans need thoroughly researched and well presented business news. We need wider coverage of how our development monies are being used in various parts of the country, and we need to know how the ordinary citizens are benefiting or suffering due to or lack of implementation of some of the projects. We need the media houses to track the progress of the millennium development goals and to also tell us whether we are on track on achieving our vision 2030 – and if not – what are they that are preventing the goals and visions to be realized?
It is only when Kenya media houses stop being crappy and venture into serious journalism will the ordinary citizen be in a position to make politically informed decision aligned not according to ethnicity or sycophancy but according to sound economic policies and development agenda.