In Summary
  • There was a tirade of accusations between Senate committee leaders and the editors.

  • Editors were always inundated with phone calls from Kanu headquarters, accusing them of acting like they were the fourth opposition party.

  • But the story of women in Parliament has been impressive as they earned attention in fair competition with their male counterparts.

The 11th Parliament and the Second Senate since independence kept quarrelling for the entire tenure before disbanding this year.

The issue at hand was that the media were fanning supremacy wars between them.

The matter came up at a retreat this month in Mombasa attended by chairpersons of Senate committees and senior editors.

There was a tirade of accusations between Senate committee leaders and the editors.

It was a reminder of the hatred the media faced after the 1992 multiparty General Election after decades of single-party rule under Kanu.

FOURTH OPPOSITION

The government then perceived media to be oppositionists supporting the Ford-Kenya of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Ford-Asili of Kenneth Matiba and Democratic Party of Mwai Kibaki.

Editors were always inundated with phone calls from Kanu headquarters, accusing them of acting like they were the fourth opposition party.

In the just expired second bicameral House, Senators perceived the media to in bed with the National Assembly.

They complained that Senators had been given a raw deal in publicity, with MPs hogging coverage. Gender also featured prominently – male Senators and MPs got more favourable coverage than female counterparts.

AGGRESSIVE

But an editor explained that the male legislators were more aggressive.

One could call them any time for a television interview or to answer question for print and they would oblige.

The women would either keep off or decline to give a comment.

But the story of women in Parliament has been impressive as they earned attention in fair competition with their male counterparts.

GRACE ONYANGO

Kenya’s first of firsts, Mrs Grace Onyango – the first woman mayor (Kisumu) in 1965; and, the first woman MP (Kisumu Town) in 1969 – found herself lonely in a nearly all-men Parliament.

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