In Summary
  • The justification given at the launch of GAA that it was a means to saving money was a hoax.

  • Racking up debts of Sh2.5 billion is not saving money.

  • It is chaotic, unlawful and unfair conduct where the government, in effect, robs the taxpaying citizens.

I have never thought much of the Government Advertising Agency, I’ll be the first to confess. Also, in fairness, when other folks just shut up and put up, I never stopped howling at the wind. My objection was ideological and practical, not personal. Many of the folks who work in the ICT ministry are my friends and former colleagues, some of whom I have known for decades.

I believe that democracy is the best form of government. I believe in freedom — including to speak one’s mind freely and openly. I believe in a free press and its role in good transparent government and the progress of Man.

EXTREME

This is in my DNA. Among the tribes from which I come, a man is a free being. He has the absolute right to govern himself, his woman (I’ll not say women), his children, his cattle and his lands (my women friends and relatives will promote me to glory for that). Every man has an equal right to participate in communal decision making and to have his views listened to — respectfully — and taken into consideration. Unfortunately, some of my kinsmen have taken this outsized sense of autonomy to the extreme and become quite violent if they perceive themselves to have been disrespected.

BACKWARD

I believe in a fairly regulated, free market economy in which the government leaves business to citizens and where we get services and opportunities in exchange for our taxes. I believe in free and fair elections. I believe in the equality of all Kenyans, irrespective of tribe or gender.

The concept of GAA flies in the face of all these values. It is backward thinking. First of all, it involves the government setting up an operation to go into business in competition with companies, many of them SMEs. Whenever government goes into business, in the majority of the cases, the result is corruption, poor services and debt. The government should focus on its core business, minding the common welfare, and not stray into media buying.

ANTI-DEMOCRATIC

Secondly, I was right: The justification given at the launch of GAA that it was a means to saving money was a hoax. Racking up debts of Sh2.5 billion is not saving money. It is chaotic, unlawful and unfair conduct where the government, in effect, robs the taxpaying citizens: It takes goods and services from the people and refuses to pay for them.

The secret motive behind GAA, to use advertising as leverage to cover up bad behaviour, is anti-democratic. Anyone telling you there can be democracy without a free and vibrant media is new to the theory. All those politicians, including Donald Trump, who don’t know the function of the media and imagine that TV stations and newspapers exist to sing praise, are not democrats. They should not be ashamed to say what they are.

MISMANAGEMENT

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