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State of the 11th Parliament: Did the media get it right?

By David Mwenda

The 11th parliament adjourned almost permanently on Thursday. It has been one dramatic parliament with one problem after another. The Parliament which has prided itself in trying to do the right thing. But lots of trouble has happened in between.

The media has fought tirelessly to make sure they  have been accountable. There are many issues they have covered concerning the 11th parliament. Some have been covered in a very good way while others have left the country very divided. That is why I decided to put together a list of the issues that have raised eyebrows over time and how the media handled this issue.

  1. The Election Laws Amendment act and amendments

Famously known as the Christmas amendments, the media created a whole circus around it and made parliamentarians feel very very important whereas they were doing nothing. They covered the proceedings live.

There are a few things that were left unsaid such as what the amendments apart from introduction of the said manual back were up and up to now the laws seem to have been left to go out like that even after parliamentarians from the CORD side almost lit up parliament because of the said laws.

The media failed to have asked the right questions. Do the laws benefit a free and fare process? Do the laws go together with the constitution? What happens when these laws are not passed? Will they derail the electioneering process?

The media failed to make sure the IEBC has responded very well to these statements. They failed to ask if the IEBC had actually responded to these issues. This seems to have caused the confusion and the silence by the IEBC failed to even bring light to this issue.

Overall the media handled this issue in a very haphazard manner as they choose to stick to sides of the political divides and even created a sense of tension in the country.

  1. The Security Bill of 2014

This had to be another low moment for the 11th parliament. The security laws introduced in 2014 seemed to have sparked a huge debate amongst a wide range of people. The media also became prey to this bill as they affected the coverage of terror attacks.

The laws which were passed on 18th December saw a change in the way parliament handled issues. Both sides of the political divide seemed to have tried tooth and nail to make sure their side has won. The media was also in it for itself as they also sought a way to make sure their voice has been heard. In the process the media seemed to bring only confusion to the laws.

The media did the live broadcast of the scuffles and made sure they have reported about the scuffles and even when things got messy they did not seem to be bothered. They made sure they have ensured transparency in the way they have handled the issue.

On this issue the media brought the partisan ship between the legislature and the executive and how they have handled the issue in a manner to suggest they were willing to do anything in order to pass these laws. Though the laws were repealed they seemed to have covered this story in depth.

Overall, the media has given members of parliament a lot of face time in interviews and debates and this seems to be very good as it enhances accountability. Overall the media has done well and has made sure they have given their best in making sure they have done the right thing.

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Categories: Uncategorized

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