PSCU dissolution best New Year gift
10 months ago, 1 Jan 10:46
Kenyans have often expressed their indignation over the conduct of the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit on social media. They are increasingly calling for a complete dissolution of the Dennis Itumbi-led coterie stationed at State House. This troupe of Itumbi (Digital, New Media and Diaspora director), James Kinyua (Branding and Events), Munyori Buku (External Communications and Media) and Eric Ng’eno (Speech Writing and Research) has turned into a propaganda wing, lashing out at perceived enemies instead of promoting national unity and cohesion. Strategic communication means conveying a concept that satisfies a long-term strategic goal of an establishment, in this case, the presidency. The PSCU was formed after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2013 win and has been doing a meritorious job, informing the public on activities and progress of the Jubilee administration’s desire to change lives. Of much encouragement has been the young people behind this outfit, representing the face of the youth in State House. Five years down the line, however, little can be said about the PSCU, which most Kenyans believe has veered off its original intention. It has turned into a conglomeration of arrogant, duplicitous characters spewing chronic hate. Only a fortnight ago the PSCU insulted city lawyer Donald Kipkorir on Twitter, calling him a ‘Slay Queen and Socialite Lawyer’. This caused public uproar and incensed the lawyer, who threatened to sue. The PSCU pulled down the tweet and apologised. Angry Kenyans asked Itumbi to “grow up” and the PSCU to be “professional”. The speechwriter has often been criticised for his demeaning messages towards Raila Odinga and the opposition. Who is superintending communications at State House? Is it Manoah Esipisu or Itumbi, the brain behind the PSCU? Lack of synergy on correspondences from the House on the Hill means just about anything makes its way to the public. Any malicious information passed by the PSCU paints State House, and ultimately the President, in a bad light. In his Christmas message, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Kenyans to hold fast to the truth, saying idiosyncrasies need not mean division. “We hold to the truth that we can do far more together than we can apart.” A message to be taken up by elements in State House. The July 29, 2016, decision by Deputy Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita to disband this squad over disorganised communication structures should have remained. Unfortunately, personal interests led to his pronouncement being overruled, giving the PSCU a lifeline. Uhuru’s handlers should, in 2018, internalise the fact that handling a head of state’s communication is not about who has the itchiest tweeting fingers, neither is it about who offers quick rebuttals to political opponents. Running a presidential dispatch regiment needs a team well informed on policymaking, government programmes and a familiarity with various issues of national interest. As we usher in the New Year, political differences, or anything that threatens to open political wounds, should be left behind. “This is not the time to look back, this is not the time to nurse grudges of the past; this ...
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