Makueni speaker Stephen Ngelu has accused the media of fueling the wrangling between Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).
Speaker Ngelu while testifying yesterday before the Commission of Inquiry looking into the possible dissolution of the county, said the media partly played a role in the infighting that has almost paralyzed normal operations of the county.
The speaker said the media was biased in reporting the wrangling and that most of the news carried on local FM stations, and dailies demonized the County Assembly.
“The media contributed to 30 percent of the wrangling,” he said.
The speaker”s remarks comes hot on the heels, after another witness who appeared before the Mohammed Nyaoga- led commission accused the Governor of using social media to fan the infighting.
Ivingoni/Nzambani Ward Representative Cosmas Nzilili told the commission that Kivutha posted on a Facebook group called Makueni County Sharing Forum misleading information that was meant to tarnish the image of the County Assembly.
The MCA said that the posts offended him and the kind of reactions they elicited from the residents who he claimed relied of the governor’s half- truths to form an opinion about the County Assembly were appalling.
“The Governor posts were lies meant to incite the MCAs against the public,” he told the commission.
The speaker’s attack of the media comes against a wake of similar scathing attacks of the media by high profile leaders. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have in the recent past castigated the media for allegedly misleading the public.
In the rather infamous tag, “Gazeti ni ya Kifunga Nyama” the two have disparaged the media begging the question whether the Kenyan media has lost its place in the current society and government or it’s a matter of misplaced misgivings.
Consequently, claims that Governor Kivutha used social media to incite the public against the MCAs is a confirmation that social media platforms have a certain power just like the mainstream media that if well harnessed can champion for worthy causes in the society and if possible influence proper governance especially in the new dispensation of devolved systems.
On the flip side, it should also be noted that the social media can be used to spread propaganda with devastating effects but with the new technological advancements caution must be exercised since the power of social media platforms cannot just be wished away.
The media is a powerful tool that plays the role of a watchdog besides informing the masses and media freedom is of essence for the media to effectively achieve its mandate.
The current Constitution is extolled for providing such media freedom but the recent remarks by the holders of the highest office in the land could signal, after proper introspection on media players to examine whether they have negatively contributed to society including wrangles like the Makueni one.
If the recent security law curtailing the same media freedoms granted by the Constitution and attacks on journalists is anything to go by, then media players have every reason to unite and fight for the media freedom that has taken ages to achieve.