New government spokesman will revolutionise State communications

Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura flanked by government officials addresses journalists at Nyayo House in Nairobi where a command center for disaster operations with a free toll number will be stationed to coordinate operations to save flood victims. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenyans have in the past been embroiled in war of words, with every Moses, David and Harry offering to speak for the government. This has usually left the public in a state of confusion, craving a singular, dependable source of truth. The government's communication strategy had faltered due to lack of a centralised platform for verified information. 

During the Worldcoin saga, CS Eliud Owalo, CS Kithure Kindiki and former Communications Authority of Kenya CEO Ezra Chiloba had different versions of the story. Days later, an increase in fuel prices made several officials to give their personal opinions, which would have been mistaken for official government position. Notable were remarks by CS Moses Kuria and State Economic Advisor David Ndii, among others, who took it to social media to communicate.

This muddled scenario glaringly exposed a gaping chasm in State communications. Many people have argued that the government ought to communicate with precision and compassion, kindling hope for a brighter tomorrow instead of recklessly dousing Kenyans remaining flicker of optimism. Even the sages who lived ahead of us believed that hope is a great breakfast.

In these sunrise days of the Kenya Kwanza government, we must serve the citizens this hearty breakfast, even as the government and the President diligently labour to nurse the economy. The government's message must convey the what, the why, the when, and the how. We understand that Kenyans yearn to understand why we are in a hole and the steps the government is taking to ease the cost of living.

In his unending wisdom, President William Ruto recognised this communication deficit in government and acted decisively. Apart from the recent Cabinet reshuffle, the head of State recreated the Office of the Government Spokesperson.

The Executive Order 2 of 2023 repositions the Office of the Government Spokesperson and the National Government Communication Centre to the heart of the Presidency, the Executive Office of the President, to better serve its purpose. This shift rectifies a critical misstep by former President Uhuru Kenyatta who had positioned the office in the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology, under the State department of Broadcasting. How can an officer from a State department effectively serve as the voice of the entire government? 

The President went ahead and picked the best people to brew State communications. He deliberately appointed three distinguished Kenyans after a vigorous recruitment process by the Public Service Commission.

Government spokesman Isaac Mwaura is an articulate former legislator with a wealth of experience both as a Senator and MP. Mr Mwaura is fluent in English, Kiswahili, Kikuyu and French. He also speaks basic Embu and Japanese languages. His multilingual prowess is a noteworthy asset to the office of the government spokesperson. Mwaura's academic achievements, including Master's degree in Public Policy and Communication from Leeds University, and another in Development Studies from Nelson Mandela University, accentuate his qualifications to steer this office. Moreover, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Kenyatta University, a diploma in theology and a diploma in public relations.

Mwaura’s first worked as the acting Deputy Director of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, where he doubled up as the Principal Public Relations Officer.

The deputy government spokesman Gabriel Muthuma, a graduate of the University of Liverpool. Deputy government spokesperson Mwanaisha Chidzuga, is a renowned Kenyan journalist with expansive experience in the mainstream media.

The recreated office of the government spokesperson marks a new era in government communications and will indeed revolutionise how the state communicates with her citizenry.

Mr Agwenge is the communications advisor in the office of the government spokesperson and National Government Communications Centre