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Cord leaders, Raila Odinga criticize government for analogue switch off

NYANZA
By KENAN MIRUKA and ERIC ABUGA | December 27th 2013

By KENAN MIRUKA and ERIC ABUGA

KISII, KENYA: CORD has slammed the Government’s push to switch off analogue broadcasting in some parts of the country.

Led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, CORD leaders criticised the Jubilee Government which they accused of failing to fulfil campaign promises.

“Kenyans are tired of skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and the Government wants to add salt to the already wounded Kenyans who can even afford to pay rent,” Raila said.

“This is a government that wants to oppress its people. I call upon all CORD leaders to remain united and fight for the less privileged Kenyan,” he added.

The CORD leader claimed government officials who have bought shares in big companies are pushing for migration from analogue to digital television.

Speaking in Kisii where he led campaigns for ODM candidate Chris Bichage ahead of the Nyaribari Chache by election, Raila waded into the television switch off saga alleging foul play in the entire issue.

“This government is pushing for a switch off of analogue TV signals in Nairobi and later move to other parts of the country. We know of those in government who bought shares in private firms and are now forcing independent TV stations to use their infrastructure,” said Raila.

He questioned why Signet, a Chinese firm, and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) alone were given exclusive rights to offer the digital migration platform when a consortium of media houses in Kenya was denied the same.

“Senior government officials want to have monopoly in offering this digital platform but this is unacceptable. This is why CORD has to remain steadfast to defend the rights of Kenyans to access of information,” added Raila.

Raila said private media companies had spent billions in putting up their infrastructure only for the Government to ignore their request to extend the digital switch-off plans.

He wondered how a private company was offered the tender to provide set top boxes at an exaggerated price.

“We need proper planning and explanation of the entire process before we embark on digital migration. Poor Kenyans are worried at the speed at which the Government is moving in harassing Kenyans to buy the new gadgets,” said Raila.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula said that the ICC cases facing the President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto were affecting the country’s development agenda.

“Kenyans are tired of false promises and the only choice we have is to seek the public opinion on grave matters affecting our nation,” he added.

The two leaders were accompanied by Kisii County senator Chris Obure, Women representative Sally Otara, nominated senator Janet Ongera, Kisii County Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and over ten MPs.

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