Kenya: Kenyan politicians’ ability for double-speak is often so incredible, it has to be seen to be believed.
Only last month, members of the National Assembly forgot their political differences and joined forces to, ostensibly, teach journalists a lesson by throwing them out of the Media Centre.
The honourable members were angry that the media had dared to give Kenyan voters a blow-by-blow account of how the MPs were forcing the Government to increase their salaries and allowances over and above what the economy can bear.
The MPs were also angry with the honest way that journalists were reporting their spirited attempts to either disband the Salaries and Remuneration Commission or cut off its funding.
Now that the absence of the media has made it near-impossible for opposition MPs to call impromptu press conferences, because journalists’ movements are restricted to strictly covering the parliamentary proceedings from the public gallery, the very people who led the drive to throw out members of the Fourth Estate are singing a different tune.
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They would have Kenyans believe that it was a partisan decision involving the National Assembly Speaker to lock out the journalists. Unfortunately, however, the events that took place in Parliament are all too recent for anyone to have forgotten.
Truth be told, whereas it is true the House Speaker read the final verdict, the case for closing the Media Centre to the very people for whom it was built with finances provided by the University of New York, the push for the Speaker’s action was fuelled by none other than Deputy Minority Leader in Parliament Jakoyo Midiwo, one of those now accusing the Government of trying to reverse the gains made in the Tenth Parliament.
It was Mr Midiwo, who told the House Business Committee “Parliament is for Members of Parliament and not for journalists” and advised them to stay away until they are allocated a new place.
Whereas members of the Fourth Estate would be happy to have the Media Centre returned to them to make their work of covering Parliament easier, there is no gain in attempting to use the issue to score political points. The truth cannot be rewritten.