- The apolitical form of political news is ingrained – who went to whom, who said the Mount would vote which way, who wrote which article indicating which other candidate was not a candidate.
- Politics is supposed to cover governance, how good or bad it is and who gets what, how the rules of the game are set, winners and losers, principles, beliefs, proposed policies.
I am a journalist. I have always been a journalist. I even train journalists. So I don’t know if that qualifies me to be able to express deep frustration with the media and not be sidelined, as are all those who express their frustration with the media.
Because here we are, back in another hot pre-election season, with every media outlet we’ve crammed with stories they call political.
So no, I’m not going to complain about such political coverage. What I’m going to complain about is the nature of the media coverage. Because this is not politics, sir, it is pride, chest thrusts and gossip.
Of course, the apolitical form of the political news is entrenched – who went to whom, who said the Mount would vote which way, who wrote which article announcing which other candidate as a non-candidate. This is what we get every time. It is our solid food. There is never a variation.
So let me try to paint another picture of politics. Because, what is politics really?
Perhaps this is a lady who says voters will vote with their heads and not just with their hearts, with no idea what might justify a reasoned voting decision.
Well, yes, it is politics, in the sense of office politics and someone fighting for position and power.
But in terms of government, the policy is meant to cover governance, how good or bad it is and who gets what, how the rules of the game are set, winners and losers, principles, beliefs, proposed policies. .
And, most importantly, it is meant to cover issues such as what we do to build our nation and solve the problems that harm our citizens.
Stuff like why our young people are unemployed and what are we going to do about it, or why 2021 is a great year to be a nation with thousands of people with trachoma who don’t take more than one pill of antibiotics to heal, or what are we going to do next about our debt crisis to ensure a better future for our children, not a bankrupt and late future.
Because all policies are politics and which party promotes which policies, or even how an alliance of parties will impact their collective policies, is really politics.
Yet our political debate is so small. Of course, we have serious and credible writers in this space. But why the gap between their analyzes of issues of land rights, or regional inequity, or countless other issues, and our “new policies”?
Because please understand the implications of staying away from our real governance issues as journalists. When our biggest political news is gathering someone to announce that they are running for a job, but not what they are proposing to spend next time around, we end up with leadership that is not “based.” on permission â.
In this, every situation has a “problem of definition”. In Kenyan politics, let me suggest that the defining issue now shaping every policy we implement (and NOT including the house that meets) is the massive leap in our borrowing from China under the current government to buy huge infrastructure projects.
Now, this is a strategy that has benefits, like that one day these assets can contribute to net income and create jobs, and things against, like all the things we can’t afford as a result, like stopping trachoma that blinds people after donors don’t pay.
Because, with any government, there is only a finite amount of tax revenue to spend. It is a matter of strategy how much we spend on borrowing now, and whether we are doing it for productive assets that will generate additional tax revenue in the future or whether we are simply consuming taxes tomorrow.
These decisions are made by the politicians we vote for. But since we don’t even ask them at every press conference what their spending priorities are, these are decisions that are made without our votes.
Have you voted for massive infrastructure spending? Have you voted to exclude trachoma and bilharzia from universal health care?
And neither will you this time, as long as politics is what runs, and not what it proposes to do.