With the independent candidates’ wave, the media should now focus on individuals

By David Mwenda

Monday came as a shocker to many when they learnt of the large number of candidates who wanted to run for the presidency. Prior to the weekend, the media was pretty sure that this election was going to be a two-horse race. It was even a characteristic comment made by Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli that the race was for two horses and that whoever joined later would be a donkey.

The country has very strict election law right now. This means that party hopping has been restrained and one cannot move from one party to another without them falling into legal problems.

However, even with these strict laws there was a window which was left open in the long run. Running as an independent was this option. If one was not contented with how political parties run their nominations, then they were left with the option of being independents.

Will it result to a rise of stalemates in parliament?

This was the first thing the media needs to look into. This is the first thing they need to make sure they are talking about. Is it a nice thing when we have a high number of independent MPs or senators? For now we have very few MPs and senators and they have not tilted the scale. However, with independent candidates being on the rise, then it seems to pose a huge problem.

What do they stand for?

This is the other thing the media has failed to look at. At times we just look at the people who want to run as independents. However what do they stand for in the long run? The media has been awash with the news of people who are running as independents. However they have failed to focus on this people and what they seem to bring to the table.

In fact they always make sure they have very little media coverage that when they get it their talk points seem to be attacking the media viciously. In an interview with NTV’s morning show and on JKL Miguna Miguna complained of poor coverage of his run. This even sparked debate in the long run and brought out a topic far from what they were discussing in the show.

It is important for the media to come out and question them and put their policies under the same heat in the long run. This is why they should not be ignored. I mean the media predicted a big win for Kabogo and even hosted him on their shows but in the long run he lost even in his strong holds. My thoughts are there are things that these two horses are not addressing in the long run and the media is hiding someone who can be able to handle these issues.

The wave may shift the dynamic of Kenyan politics

The country needs to come off and understand that in the long run, there is a change in Kenyan politics. For the media, independent candidates come off as a new and different kind of candidates. The media should not see them as a complication to their coverage but should work out a way to make sure they can do their work better.


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