Presidential Communications team that is so Unpresidential

(Statehouse spokesperson Kanze Dena)

Late last year, we wrote an article questioning if Beatrice Kanze Dena the Spokesperson, Executive Office of the President, Republic of Kenya and Head of Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) was the one failing presidency. We went further to justify our concern stating several reasons.

Today, a team from Jade Communications Limited, in an article published on the Daily Nation, has confirmed that indeed the PSCU is a “house divided”.

They went on to say that it’s the PSCU which is mandated to “crafting a communication strategy that should offer Kenyans a chance to interrogate, understand and participate in government policy.”

That, “In recent times, the PSCU seems to have limited its communication to focus on the Office of the Presidency, which comprises of the President and his Deputy.”

It’s true, that, the presidency has been brought down by this powerful docket. Many may not understand how but effective communication as Jade Communications limited puts it, “is the fuel that powers individuals and organisations to the next level”. As things are, save for the efforts of Government spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, the PSCU is dead. Nothing is inspiring from this group yet they are lucky to be working with a President who is keen on demystifying statehouse.

It is evident that PSCU in most cases is reading from “different scripts when communicating about the President and his Deputy” confirming a division between the two.

Any communication expert would agree with 254News that the PSCU has failed and their only solution is to put their act together or it be disbanded in entirety and a new group that must be thoroughly professional allowed to take over.

As things stand, 254News agrees with the Jade Communications Limited that PSCU has been reduced to a small unit that is merely pushing information and reporting the itinerary of the Presidency while failing to guide the wider governmental strategic communication efforts.

Kenyans cannot afford to struggle with a tough economy and at the same time struggle to get information about what the Government is doing.

Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna alone cannot do all the work, the PSCU must stand up and do the right thing that includes guiding and developing strategic government communication.

PSCU is thoroughly disorganized and it’s in no doubt that the entire team is messing up the presidency.

Today, all eyes are on Social media of the powers that be to monitor where the world is headed after the killing of Quds commander Qasem Soleimani via a US strike in Baghdad. Everyone is checking the social.media handles of the top USA government, the superpower, led by President Donald Trump issuing threats and counter-threats.

Back in the country, social media accounts of President Uhuru Kenyatta was comfortably deactivated and PSCU is not bothered to revive them. You follow the PSCU’s-run statehouse social pages and all you can see is a dead page with nothing fascinating at all.

Not even in the USA will you see a watermark put on the official images from White House or wherever, but back in the country, PSCU has huge watermarks like a media house. They are keen on marketing themselves at the expense of concentrating at strategic government communication.

The government is doing a series of projects but not a single one is thoroughly covered anywhere. There is literally no coordination of government communication at all. Why is President Uhuru Kenyatta or those around him not keen on this matter? What will cost Me Kenyatta to revive his communication team?

A well-coordinated team with a good strategy would save President Uhuru Kenyatta from getting angry every now and again. A strategic team would even plant journalists who would extensively cover what the Government is doing. But who cares anyway? You see various top government officials attending functions and TV interviews but no one is talking about the messages and discussions they have. Take for example Ambassor Dr Monica Juma who on Sunday of January 5, 2020 had a fruitful interview at K24’s punchline, not even a single government communication department said anything about it yet the matters discussed were weighty.

Another blunder in the PSCU is President’s speeches that have been lacking taste since President Uhuru Kenyatta came to power.

Kenyans thought that the loopholes in the President speeches would come to an end with the disbandment of Presidential Press Unit where four senior directors Munyori Buku, Dennis Itumbi, Eric Ng’eno and James Kinyua were sent packing only for it to deteriorate. Going by the last speech of President Kenyatta done on Jamhuri day, which was long, boring and not carefully authored, you can easily conclude that if nothing is urgently done to PSCU team, then more worse scenarios awaits the presidency.

One keen observer of President’s speeches is Jonie Moon who had this to say;

“President Uhuru’s Speech Writers obviously have a long way to go in drafting more sober speeches. Speeches with the right tone, mood and attitude that would make them sound more serious and presidential, or at least show some little respect for the office of the presidency.

“You don’t draft a speech that sounds like that of a rejected lover shouting his frustrations out while drowning his romantic miseries in a bottle of illicit brews in some dingy bars deep in the slums of Mathare, and hand it to the president to read to the public, on a national holiday!

“One gets the feeling that it’s just one of those hot rhetorics he keeps spewing in political rallies in his backyard, our president is the best ever but his close advisory team should be ousted.” Jonie Moon observed.

“Since President Kenyatta came to power, if there is something he has not gotten right is his written speeches during public holidays. The son of Kenyatta is good with off the cuff speeches though.” Another source added.

I would leave you with this review of President’s speech done in December 2016 during Jamhuri day.

The review was done by Jim Bonnie, one of the commentators when it comes to governance.

“Uhuru’s Jamhuri day speech, a sewer of grammatical errors

The president’s speech is a very important document that must be carefully authored, attentively edited and proofread. Minor mistakes that have the potential of hurting the president’s image have to be maimed at all costs.

But it seems PSCU directors apply different standards. President Kenyatta’s Jamhuri day speech was not only an end-product of negligence in writing but also a sewer of illogical statements, hare-brained lies and semantic and grammatical errors.

I can forgive anyone for smearing the president’s speech with lies as its major ingredient but nay to the inclusion of illogical statements and grammatical boo-boos. It’s a taboo for the president’s speech to have grammatical errors.

For the benefit of my ardent readers, I’ve pointed out some of the mistakes in the Kenyatta’s speech as follows:

“It is indeed appropriate to begin this day of commemoration with a word of encouragement and condolences to all those immediate family members and their relatives that are touched by this tragedy. I assure you we are all together with you at this trying momen.”

It was safe to say ‘It is appropriate to begin with a word of encouragement and condolences to the family and relatives of the victims of this Tragedy. I assure you we are all together with you at this trying moment’. (note the word is “moment” not “momen”)

“We are heirs of these men and women, who forged many tribes into a single Nation..” What is the meaning of ‘forged many tribes into a single nation’? Does it even make sense? I think ‘sewed or united many tribes into a nation’ would suffice.

“Today, Kenya’s education system is ranked the best in Africa, and 30th in the World..” This is an idiotic lie. He should have said ‘Kenya’s education system is ranked one of the best in Africa’. My research has shown that other countries are doing better than we are in Africa.

“Digital learning may be new, but our pursuit for this new modern way of learning is true to the principles for which our fathers fought.” What is ‘new modern way’? This portion should read ‘Digital learning is new, but our pursuit for this modern way of learning is true to the principles…”

And there was this stupid mistake, “But they [founding fathers] also knew that we had to build a caring nation that protected its most vulnerable citizens.” I recommend ‘….caring nation that protects its…’ The verb protect ought not to take the past tense form.

“It has been my overriding commitment to make my Administration’s contribution to this cause.” The word ‘cause’ is wrongly used. It defies grammatical logic and common sense. It should be replaced with ‘course’.

“Despite the challenges that our National Youth Service Programme has faced, it has delivered some very clear and tangible successes.” Why would any sane speechwriter opine ‘…has delivered some very clear and tangible successes’? Just write ‘…has delivered tangible successes..’ Period!

“I would like to urge Kenyans to draw a clear distinction between the positive impact of the NYS Programme and the deplorable mismanagement of the past orchestrated by individuals who were determined to railroad its success.”

An idiot wrongly used the word ‘railroad’. Railroad is a transportation system of metal rails used by trains. Another meaning is, to convict hastily without due consideration. How then does the word apply in this context?

“Most our people make their living in agriculture.” Was it hard to write, ‘Most of our people earn their living through agriculture’? First, “of” was omitted. That’s a crime. Then he said, “…make their living in agriculture.” This is ignorance at play.

“It is our young people who will be the driver of this transformation.” Subject verb agreement is taught at primary level. The word “driver’ should take the plural form because the subject is in plural form. As simple as that.

“If we raise the productivity, skill and entrepreneurial ambition in our youth, we will have given them what they need to transform our Nation, and the continent.” Can someone tell me what in devil’s name is the meaning of ‘…entrepreneurial ambition in our youth…”?

This fool would’ve just written, ‘if we raise the productivity, the skills (not the introduction of article “the” and the plural form of “skill”) and support the entrepreneurial potentials….’ Short and clear.

“And let me repeat this point. That is why we have ensured every public primary school in the Republic has electricity. That is why we have worked so hard to reform our education system, and to preserve the integrity of public examinations.”

Unless you’re illiterate “this point” in the above paragraph should take the plural form ‘these points’ because the president was repeating many points.

This statement irritated me, “We have also established policies to requiring government ministries and agencies to buy Kenyan products as first priority.” A polished writer would opine ‘we have also established policies requiring (note the omission of “to”) government ministries and agencies to prioritize buying Kenyan products’.

“In the new world order, we must strive to deepen economic integration of our region and the continent. Our growth will be accelerated by that of our neighbors and the same applies to them.”

Which new world order is this fool talking about? And which economic principle dictates that if one country is growing economically then automatically its neighbors grow with it? This is a foolish statement that shouldn’t appear in a presidential speech.

I got tired at this point (quarter-way) and gave up the rest of the speech.”

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