Lessons for the media on coverage of the economy

side bar panel

A Sidebar panel (courtesy of Larry Madowo tweet)


By David Mwenda

A lot of reports by government have indicated a sharp rise in the economy and have projected a huge growth trajectory. However, there still remains a huge gap in increase in food prices. Trickle down economy seems not to be working for the country at all however most politicians want to keep this going. Is there a need to change this trend?

Larry Madowo sought to find some solutions on the show and he was able to have a sober discussion on the show. He hosted some of the best economical minds in the country and he aced the show. The panel included Anzetse Were, Kwame Owino, Aly Khan Satchu, Amos Kimunya and Bramwell Simuyu. The last two were representing both sides of the political divide(Jubilee and NASA). They all came armed with information and what they thought of the economy and what the solutions can be. The discussion brought about a lot of things into play about the current food situation and other economical problems in the country.

The first issue that came into light was the current drought in the country. The east African region has experienced a huge drought which has seen some countries try to find some alternatives. Kenya was also in the same predicament with food prices escalating. Anzetse Were raised the point that the drought situation in the country was underplayed and the government had not been able to take safety measures and they instead chose to play a game where they claimed they had enough grain in the grain reserve to make sure the country is well fed.

The role of the media needs to come into play here. There is need to check the facts and make sure they are right. The role of the national cereals and produce board is to make sure that there is enough grain through buying it. From the beginning the signs of a drought were highly inevitable however the media focused on the emotional aspect of the people being affected rather than questioning how to handle this food situation in a sober manner.

Kwame Owino also came out guns blazing and he was able to talk about the way the Jubilee government has solved this issue. He seems to have had a problem with the subsidy programs. He had a different problem with urban people being given subsidies instead of giving them a cheque and dealing with the private sector to do price control of the maize. Though this appears to be a solution there is another problem that Larry did not question.

The construction economy is also something the media now needs to focus on right now. Kenya is building huge buildings and roads. Overall the construction economy has grown in leaps and bounds. The show focused on the pricing of construction implements. The show discussed the issue of implements becoming more and more expensive which has in turn raised the cost of housing in the country.

One issue that stood out of the entire show is bad governance. Both the county and national government have a huge problem of putting out good policies. Take for example the food situation in the country, the high unemployment rate in the country and the number of businesses shutting down and leaving the country.  The media needs to start scrutinizing some of the bills being passed. Take for example the interest rates bill passed last year which promised to reduce the amount of loan rates. However it has not translated to any results to the people who need these loans. This being the common mwananchi who might want to chance to start a business but cannot be able to service the loans still.



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