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Uhuru Under Fire Over Kikuyu Interview on Covid-19
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|Uhuru Under Fire Over Kikuyu Interview on Covid-19 by Saocv(1): Tue 07, April, 2020 08:13pm|
President Uhuru Kenyatta came under fire from a section of Kenyans after he gave an interview on Covid-19 to three Kikuyu vernacular radio stations; Coro FM, Kameme FM and Inooro FM on Tuesday, April 7.
A day after his address to the nation announcing a partial lockdown in four counties, Uhuru in his radio interview discussed various measures being taken by his administration to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The interview rubbed a cross-section of Kenyans the wrong way, among them Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi took to social media to question why the Head of State would address a matter of such national importance in vernacular.
"Royal Media Services, give us notice of when to tune in to Ramogi, Mulembe, Egesa, Sulwe, Chamgei, Muuga, Musyi, Vuuka and Wimwaro FM. The President must speak to Luopeans, Luhyapeans and fellow tongue twisted natives. They too have attentive ears and working Transistor Radios," Havi wrote.
"On Kikuyu vernacular stations to sensitize Kenyans? What mockery! Just say to sensitize Kikuyu speaking Kenyans. If this guy wanted to sensitize Kenyans he’d be on KBC... Meanwhile Kikuyu speakers please tell us what our president has said," wrote Cherotich Tanui in response to a post by State House announcing the interview.
Several others, however, backed Uhuru insisting that the president was simply reiterating his message from Monday, April 6.
"Uhuru addressed the country in English yesterday. What more will he tell you in English that he did not? Let him appeal to his constituency in a language they feel - Kikuyu. And if David Ndii does not like it he can sit on a pin! Period," political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi wrote, for instance.
"People are just being plainly stupid. The President is trying to speak to a constituency that did not hack what he said yesterday yet are the most vulnerable. I'm sure if he was proficient in Dholuo, Kalenjin or Bukusu he would have done the same," argued one Jacob Kiora.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on the sharp division witnessed over the interview, renowned political analyst and University of Nairobi (UoN) don Herman Manyora threw his weight behind Uhuru while maintaining that Kenya needed to prioritize raising awareness in every corner of the country.
Manyora argued that he could not oppose efforts to inform the masses on Covid-19, further calling for other leaders to follow the president's cue and educate members of the communities they belong to.
"Covid-19 is a serious thing. The ordinary citizen has a big role to play to protect himself and others around him. These things that the citizen is being told to do; like wash your hands, sanitize, observe social distance, they must be communicated effectively.
"We need to throw everything at it. Even Raila told us to personalize this battle. We need to reach who we can reach, even you, it is your duty to reach the people you can and educate them on these measures.
"Communication and sharing information is just as important as the scientists looking for the cure. Because this communication has a bearing on what the ordinary citizen does.
"And when you communicate, sometimes it's important to repeat the message for it to stick, it's called reinforcement. So I support Uhuru 100% and in fact, we should all do the same," he asserted.
Manyora called on leaders of different political persuasions to make it their responsibility to raise awareness in local communities, advising them to engage vernacular media platforms just as Uhuru had done.
"We must prioritize reaching as many Kenyans as we can with the relevant information. Uhuru is right. So, let all these leaders also go to the FM stations.
"Raila Odinga should go to Ramogi, Musalia Mudavadi should go to Mulembe FM, Mutahi Kagwe and Martha Karua can go to Inooro, Coro and the rest," he maintained
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