By Dikembe Disembe
What President Kenyatta’s newly established communication machine means for the next elections
Communication is Power.Â This is the catch phrase of public relations, the sister discipline of journalism which houses political communication, political persuasion, public communication and rhetoric in politics. In Kenya, presidential campaigns was recently redefined, so will it be in the next elections and the other.
Uhuru Kenyatta will win the next elections as a TNA candidate. . .oh, and this you can take to CBA and get a mortgage loan. Two things the last elections proved. Two things the TNA machine learnt, two things they are not letting go. First, Kenya is composed of citizens who love propaganda. Second, when propaganda is repeated severally on the same issue, and for a long period of time, on the same people; it becomes the gospel truth. Period.
Propaganda is part of politics. In its raw form, propaganda appeals to the psyche, then alters it. In public persuasion for social influence, emotions are the first casualties, then reason. While the Jubilee alliance all so often appealed to people’s emotions, the CORD ‘intelligensia’ went for reason. It was a campaign based on the ‘true belief’ that because Uhuru and Ruto were ‘indictees’ of some of the worst crimes ever invented by the species homo, no ‘rational person’ would vote them in. But this kind of thinking had one inherent flaw: it assumed Kenya had a super-majority of sensible voters to sequester a ballot filibuster by ‘irrational people’. It did not work. Repeated, it will never work!
While ODM is reorganizing its ‘executive branch’, TNA, now with the advantage of state machinery, is reorganizing its ‘communication’ branch. Make no mistake, the race to the next polls has began. It’s only the unthinking or the politically myopic who will interprate President Kenyatta’s recent re-organization of his press team as having anything to do with the ‘crap’ that is the Jubilee manifesto.
Herein lies the burden for at least three individuals: Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and William Ruto. In the next five years, I see president Kenyatta completely ‘owning’ the propaganda machine. Already, in his camp are a few of the best propagandists locally available. By employing Denis Itumbi and Eric Ngeno, Kenyatta fundamentally ‘imbalanced’ both the social media and print media discourses for the future. Itumbi, though overrated, is the kind of ‘quack’ needed for the next full measure of dirty journalism that will be required Â for the period after next year. Ngeno, on the other hand , is a credible print media writer whom, in my view, was appointed specifically to deal with all irritations coming from a renegade scholar by the name Makau Mutua!
Both Itumbi and Ngeno have two different constituencies to deal with. In my view, Itumbi must maintain propaganda for the ‘irrational, emotionally charged’ reserve army of the jobless, tarmacking but hopeful Jubilee masses. Many in this category do not read newspapers but have a twitter or a Facebook account. They are the guys who get exited by just seeing president Kenyatta upload photos from a state-house meeting with ‘anybody’, including that Otonglo boy. They are caged, and Itumbi knows this, yes he does!
Ngeno, as I said, is the guy to deal with mainstream media ‘right of reply’. Being a ‘Kalenjin’ bidding for the president is already a big statement on the kind of ethnic reconciliation needed for the post-Ruto TNA politics. Ngeno is a credible person; he is one whose thoughts will easily resonate with the educated, rational and working-class citizens who understands what VAT is, or whether Kethi Kilonzo forged her masters degree papers.
What is intriguing in all these is the place of the deputy presidency. Will the president’s team ‘work for’ the Deputy President? What will happen when the two leaders begin to punch each other? Is Ruto ready for the second slot for a decade?
Be all these as they may, CORD, that great coalition of the people outside the government, is doing very badly! In my view, the coalition headed by FDM (Father of Modern Democracy) Raila Odinga and a resurgent Kalonzo Musyoka needs to ‘move with speed’ and re-stock its depleted communication reservoirs. The next professionals to work for ODM, my party, must not only understand the workings of new media in political persuasion in the Kenya of this century, but also the ‘thinking’ of Jubilee people like Ngeno, Itumbi and others not before this court!
It is politics. Stupid! https://www.kenya-today.com/news/president-kenyattas-propaganda-machine