By Anwar Sadat
I hear the Enigma is set to be interviewed by Citizen TV anchor Mohammed Hussein.
TV interviews are a tricky affair for political leaders, even for those gifted in public speaking, especially when the stakes are too high and when the media is so biased as it is in kenya today.
I have no issues with Muhammad Hussein: he comes a cross as balanced and objective on most occasions, and can be pushy at times. But his TV station has an agenda to push, and in the most critical times, the agenda of the TV station overbears that of the individual new anchor.
There are political reasons why Obama rarely appeared on Fox News channel. A man who moved the whole world by his oratory skills was always cautious when engaging a media house hostile to his agenda and political narrative.
There are also political reasons why Donald Trump would not appear on liberal TV stations like CNBC. They don’t help advance his courses.
Most political consultants and commentators will always advise their candidates before doing any TV interview to answer the following questions?
1.Is it absolutely necessary to conduct the interview?
2. What do we seek to accomplish with the interview?
3. Can we achieve the same objectives through other avenue like directly engaging the electorate?
4. Is there any one is our team that can clearly articulate our views?
5. What is the political cost of potential choice of wrong words? Or mumbled answer?
6. After the interview lights are out, what sound bites and answers will the station play over and over?
7. What is the position of the TV station? Do they align largely with what we seek to accomplish? Or are they considered to be advancing the political narrative of other candidates?
TV interviews are about optics; they can slow down momentum, alter politics discussions, break or build political campaigns. Their timing is also very crucial.
NASA is campaigning against a team well versed with the politics of public relations, propaganda, and political imagery. The Kenyan media is not sympathetic to the issues that Raila is espousing.
Every narrative today in kenya is anti Jubilee. From higher food prices and the horrible government response to corruption. Political wisdom dictates that when your political opponent is falling because of self inflicted wounds, you never intervene.
Unless there is anything extremely political explosive against Jubilee, better than what is currently going on, the Enigma intends to release tomorrow, I still think that interview is not necessary.
It is highly likely that no matter how careful the handlers of Enigma have prepared for this interview, we will still be doing some mopping after the interview. You never know what a TV station doing the bidding of a failing regime can put you through when the cameras are rolling.
If NASA is to do these TV interviews, i would have loved them to use the other pentagon members. It is my considered opinion that Raila should do very few TV interviews, and those interviews should only be done if it’s absolutely necessary.
The interview tomorrow is not necessary. The potential for politically unflattering sound bites are very high. I would advise against it.