The warning by ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru to Media Houses against releasing any poll results during the August 8th 2017 General Elections is unacceptable in a democracy like Kenya and likely to create suspicion, fear and despondency among Kenyans.
This is not the first time Kenyans are going to vote. Throughout the previous elections Kenyans have always followed the results of such an election through the media and we are all alive to history for instance in the 2005 Referendum, the then ECK Chairman applauded and congratulated the media for being consistent in releasing the results of the Referendum that were tallied and remained similar to the Commission’s.
Similarly, in the hotly contested 2007 elections, it is the media that constantly kept Kenyans informed on the progress of the voting and the results and even the rigging claims were as a result of the media where suddenly the opposition felt short-changed in terms of how the results were streaming in.
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions, COTU (K) as the umbrella workers body in the country will therefore not allow this election to be conducted in a mysterious and opaque manner without allowing the media to project to Kenyans the resultant voting patterns from different countries as this will ease any tension that is likely to be caused when no information is available to Kenya’s hence result into people relying on rumours and hearsay from individuals hell-bent on causing chaos in this country.
As a country we believe our media is responsible enough to play its rightful role away from any form of threats of being shut down or prosecuted and Cabinet Secretary Mucheru should shut up and let the Press do its work independently.
Francis Atwoli, NOM(DZA) EBS, MBS