By Sos Oti
What’s bizarre about Macharia Gaitho’s articles is that in trying to please all sides, he will sound as though he is against a policy until you read it to the end, and discover that he actually supports the Uhuru policy of granting Uganda sugar importation rights, in exchange for business for Brookside.
This doesn’t bode too well for the media because without taking an unequivocal position(without pretense), Gaitho fails to advance the national discourse to the next level. It stagnates national debate such that we are unable to properly place his arguments to whichever side of the debate.
It behooves Media houses, to not take a position(ought to remain neutral), but its imperative and best progressive practice for individual columnists to tell readers whether what’s in question is a holy or evil agenda and why.
Its not only confusing or a total disgrace for the reader to have to be analytical to realize what side of the argument you sympathize with.
I have no problem with Gaitho endorsing every Jubilee position, infact that what I want him to un-apologetically do(and I will respect him) but he has to be very straightforward on where he stands on issues, and without ambiguity whatsoever. The sophisticated elite gets it, but the man on the street has to sift through Gaitho’s sentences to place him on a pedestal. And that’s why he is misleading to the masses.
Its a waste of media space when at the end the column, the reader doesn’t get to know-without ambiguity- which side of the national debate you are in.
Gaitho not only lacks an ideological pattern, but also tries to please both sides of the argument, while still at a close scrutiny endorsing the government position 90% of the time, while still evidently attempting to be ideologically all over the place, all in one article. Its a deceitful art of reverse psychology that the 1996 Clinton chief political adviser Dick Morris called “Triangulation”.
Left-wingers Prof. Makau Mutua, David Ndii, and even rightwing status quo apologists Prof Peter Kagwanja and Eric Ng’eno are usually very clear as to what side of the ideological schisms they fall into, and I respect all the four coz that’s good for the elevation of the national discourse.
New York Times’ Bill Kristoll, Ann Coulter etc are palpably un-apologetically rightwing, Maureen Dowd evidently liberal.
And whether its Prof Kagwanja or Makau Mutua, I really respect their positional clarity. And even the many of you who dont mince their words about my left wing posts on facebook- we may disagree but always know that I, Sospeter Otieno, truly, and from the bottom of my heart dearly cherish and respect the fact that you take positions- and always know that even when we disagree, take it from me- I don’t take it personal. Whether you agree or disagree with my posts, I love and respect you all.
Jubilee or Cord, I really don’t care which side of the political divide you are in, if you demonstrate some ideological purity and clarity, and that if you can take a position and truly defend it, then I will respect it. Ideological mongrels really squander an opportunity to move this nation forward. The nation is yearning for ideological clarity.