The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was a song done by Gil Scott-Heron. An American spoken word artist, Musician and Poet. On 30th January NASA’s ‘illegal’ oath was not televised; but was this a revolution?
I’ll get to that question. In the meantime, let me explain that the song released in the early 70s appears to attempt to disabuse the notion that revolution will be broadcasted in all its glamor or that it will be grand or fit certain stereotypes because everyone will be on their way to witness and not watch from the comfort of their living rooms.
On 30th January, the government through the Communications Authority (CA) switched off signals for NTV, Citizen and KTN for their decision to broadcast the NASA swearing-in ceremony despite having been warned (according to the Kenya Editor’s Guild) not to do so. It’s not clear whether that may have contributed to many supporters choosing to go witness the event for themselves instead but the illegal oath was well attended by any standard.
Opposition NASA have effectively set the agenda for the local media houses for the next few days with that ‘illegal’ oath eclipsing, albeit momentarily President Kenyatta’s naming of his cabinet. And while we’re on this. It appears the President has little incentive to toe the line when it comes to respecting the Constitution.
The proposed cabinet as constituted fails to meet the two-thirds gender test despite the High Court pronouncing itself expressly on the matter in 2017. The warning remains unheeded. Only six nominees are women out of a cabinet of 22 CSs. The President also went ahead to create new positions not envisioned in the Constitution to reward loyalists.
While announcing the full cabinet the President announced the creation of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) saying he had consulted widely on this and was in accordance with article (132) (4A) of the Constitution and as advised by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
In all honesty, the President merely created these positions to reward his stalwarts who lost in the August 8th elections. Otherwise if it was about the face of Kenya and efficiency, the CS position is enough to give a tribal balance. For such positions, it goes without saying that a technocrat would’ve done better than a politician. Sadly, Uhuru’s second term cabinet has more politicians than the first.
To add salt to the injury, the President has decided which nominees will be vetted by Parliament and which ones will not. Completely usurping the people’s power through the National Assembly to decide who gets to lead them in the Executive. He sent Parliament only eight names out of the 22 CSs despite the fact that this is a new term and all the other Cabinet Secretaries must take a fresh oath of office after being vetted.
It is ironical really that President Kenyatta supported SRC pay cuts owing to the increased wage bill and asked MPs to agree with it then he proceeded to introduce his new CAS positions that will leave Kenyans coughing more. Meanwhile, MPs have arm-twisted the SRC after taking oath and awarded themselves a pay increment.
That all this comes at a time when the country is experiencing a lot of cash problems by Treasury accounts; one must wonder whether this government has its priorities right. Is the government in touch with the people’s problems and its problems for that matter?
And while we’re talking about the people. Thousands of Kenyans thronged the illegal swearing in and nobody died. Whether the illegal swearing in was a sign of a revolution or not may not be important at the moment but it did reveal that deaths occur where police unnecessarily provoke people when expressing their displeasure as guaranteed by the Constitution. Going forward, let’s stop the chest-thumping and show of might by the opposition and government and forge a peaceful way forward.