The past month has seen our TV screens inundated with hoards of political scientists and scholars,lawyers and former and current politicians all trying to make sense of the Kenyan political landscape.The media calls them political analysts.Throughout some of these incredibly boring sessions and exchanges,these learned guests openly froth at the sides of their mouths,with droplets of saliva sometimes landing on adjacent ‘partners-in-crime’ and moderators,who are themselves too politically inclined to play their roles properly.
Watching some of these debates,one soon realises that these supposedly informed panelists are detached from reality.Most of them make erratic comments with regards to electorate patterns on the ground,ostensibly to please their paymasters and fatten their bank accounts.Recent election results from various constituencies throughout the republic show a marked deviation from their much-hyped pre-election projections,further proof of their lack of information on the dynamics of grassroots voting patterns.
Understanding Kenyan politics is not nuclear physics.One doesn’t have to be a high-flying lawyer,current or former politician,or political scientist-whatever that is-to understand its dynamics.It’s never issue-based.It’s tribal-based,with many Kenyans opting to elect individuals likely to tow party lines as opposed to development-conscious independent candidates.Trying to paint Kenyan politics in different light-something political analysts want us to believe-is Utopian.
Equally to blame are television hosts who appear either ill-prepared or unwilling to subject the analysts to issue-based and tough questioning.Some media houses are said to lean towards particular coalitions and consequently some hosts,under instructions from their bosses and media owners,stay clear of controversial and tough issues which may put their ‘financiers’ in awkward situations when replying to these querries.
Which goes a long way to explaining why hosts and analysts,especially those aligned to Jubilee,have been preaching peace in the run-up to this year’s election.Evidently,history has shown that peace is a by-product of justice and fairness,a line of thinking exhibited by moderators and panelists with leanings towards the NASA coalition.In other words,most of the debates we’ve been treated to during this election period had everything to do with the two main antagonists in the electoral process,and very little to do with the actual understanding of the Kenyan voting dynamics.
The jury is still out on the Kenyan media’s coverage of the 2017 election,but with only the petition challenging the announcement of Uhuru Kenyatta as president the only immediate distraction,critics have yet again cast aspersions on the competence of leading Kenyan media outlets in relation to election and post-election coverage.