Kenya: Ban Vernacular Radio Stations, Says Ex-President Moi

Regulation & Policy

Retired President Moi has urged the Government to ban vernacular radio stations. Speaking during a prize-giving ceremony at Sunshine Secondary School in Nairobi, Moi said the mushrooming stations were being used to fuel tribal hatred.

The stations were creating tribal chiefs and disseminating divisive politics and messages, he said warning that they could incite anarchy and genocide as happened in Rwanda. "I am painfully aware of the negative influences, which continue to assault the brains of our young people through certain media," Mr Moi said.

In August 2000, he called for the banning of all vernacular FM radio stations for promoting "tribal chauvinism" and undermining "national unity". He directed attorney-general Amos Wako to draft legislation that would force radio stations to broadcast in the two national languages - English and Kiswahili.

However, Information minister Johnstone Makau argued against the proposal, saying that "vernacular is part of the Kenyan culture."

The Nation (Nairobi) 2 June 2008