"Ideally, I get stumped because I never have an opinion on anything, for the simple reason that I am just a journalist. A mere writer whose duty, it seems, is to spread rumours, lies and other half-truths, just for peanuts, which are usually raw and unsalted, and not 30, or less, pieces of silver"--Clay Muganda.
Folks, I told you about something that happened at a 'NO' press briefing in Parliament on Friday. My pal who works in bunge (not for bunge and not for NSIS), who happened to witness the charade, tells me that it was fraught with sheepish mischief he's never seen anywhere.
He says that Parliament printed so many copies of the harmonised draft Constitution (the one released on November 17) and had them circulated to each of the offices. But then, the 30-day period within which Kenyans were to respond lapsed before all copies were circulated.
So, these extra copies are now being used as door mats, really rugs, so that when you enter the press centre, you leave your Nairobi mud at the door. I thought they could get some kind of a metal 'rug' ( I forget the name, so spare my language poverty), but then these ones, yes, these extra copies of the draft seem to be working. After all, the green carpet in the media centre is a little green and has not turned brown yet.
On Friday, William Ruto, Isaac Ruto and Boaz Kaino, all from the 'NO' camp were there to address the media. My guy tells me journalists and cameramen, already fanatics of the 'Yes' side, and most of them have not even read the proposed new Constitution of Kenya, took one of those documents and turned it over.
So that the top could be clearly read. Never mind that it reads, 'The Harmonised Draft Constitution of Kenya" and has the colours of the country's flag. So when the three naysayers came in, the journalists insisted that they wipe their shoes on the document. These three politicians were coming to pass their message --which I strongly disprove, see PS in my earlier post--, so the rubbing of their feet on the draft, was to have a shot showing them trampling on the proposed new Constitution, because they are angry with it.
However, there was a sober journalist in there, who I am told, went and alerted the guys of a 'set up' and he was immediately branded a 'NO' guy. The two Rutos and Mr Kaino, my other guy says, told the journalists that it was sad they could think of such a manouvre.
PS: Was just thinking, in 2007-2008, these issues cropped up between PNU and ODM supporters. The dilemma was in 'protecting' some statements from being published. Now, even before the symbols are out, there is a simmering 'Yes' and 'No' divide among the country's journalists. I hope with the tens of workshops after the post-poll chaos, people learnt that Kenya is bigger than these politicians.
PS1: There is even a bigger dilemma. How do you separate the propaganda from the truth and yet give fair coverage? How do you report the 'truth' (as you understand it) without being partisan? Or should we just wear the politically patriotic hat (I know the guys in the 'No' so much love this country, even more than the crowd in 'Yes') and forge ahead with journalism out of the window? Or does the 'devil' also deserve an advocate especially at this time when every 'Yes' (or even 'NO') is not the same, yet they'd all end up in one ballot box?.
PS2: President Kibaki just made my day with his address at Uhuru Park. We still have to be one country at the end of the day. Even those saying 'No' are Kenyans. "Sio adui, muwaongeleshe kwa hizi siku tumebakisha," he said. (They are not your enemies, talk to them).