Okoa Kenya delays referendum launch over TV hitch

February 17, 2015 2:46 pm
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Okoa Kenya Committee of Experts Committee Chairman Paul Mwangi said it was not be viable continue with the launch because majority of Kenyans would not be able to follow the proceedings when TV stations covering 90 percent of the country are off air/FILE
Okoa Kenya Committee of Experts Committee Chairman Paul Mwangi said it was not be viable continue with the launch because majority of Kenyans would not be able to follow the proceedings when TV stations covering 90 percent of the country are off air/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 -The Okoa Kenya Movement has postponed the launch of the Draft Referendum Bill which was slated for Wednesday, due to the ongoing digital migration impasse between the government and three media houses.

Okoa Kenya Committee of Experts Committee Chairman Paul Mwangi said it was not be viable continue with the launch because majority of Kenyans would not be able to follow the proceedings when TV stations covering 90 percent of the country are off air.

“There can be no amendment of the Constitution without the people and their can be no people without the media,” he said.

Mwangi added: “We have postponed the launch of the draft bill intended for February 18 until the people of Kenya can participate in all the proceedings leading to its promulgation.”

The Okoa Kenya Movement which includes civil society groups and CORD is pushing for a raft of amendments to the Constitution which will see devolution of more money and roles to the counties, a reform of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the strengthening of election management, land and inclusivity.

CORD leader Raila Odinga whose coalition has been pushing for the referendum condemned the switch off and urged the government to promptly resolve the issue.

He said it was unfortunate that Kenyans are being caught up in the fiasco, yet it is a matter that could have been resolved a long time ago.

“The government is running away from that responsibility. We are not convinced, and media houses are not convinced, that the government is being a sincere and honest arbitrator on the issue of licences,” Odinga noted.

“We add our voice to those calling for the speedy resolution of the issue of digital migration and ask the government to realise that there is a greater issue at stake for all Kenyans.”

He is urging the government to listen to the grievances raised by the affected media houses to find a long lasting solution as opposed to taking hard-line positions.

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