Nairobi — Former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has asked the government to use the 45 day period granted by the Court of Appeal to review the digital migration policy implementation.
Mudavadi said the cost incurred on the new set top boxes is a strain to many pockets saying the implementation comes at the wrong time as it is a fortuitous cost.
"Financially, neither media nor media consumers have been prepared long enough to absorb the shocks that will come with migration.
"Media and the public have to fork out millions in new TV sets and gadgets. Kenyans o not have disposable income in these hard times of skyrocketing cost of living."
"Parents are putting together packages to cater for schools expenses for their children and it is bad timing and unfair to burden them with unplanned costs," he explained.
He added that the threat by the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) to switch of TV transmissions undermines the rational for the existence of the government and its delegated responsibility to serve Kenyans.
In a statement to newsrooms on Saturday, he advised that the migration process should be staggered over a definite period and further subsidise prices on the set top boxes for the switch to be more affordable.
"The migration to digital should be planned graduation and staggered over a definite period to serve the purpose of change."
"Almost all Kenyans have analogue TV sets and they need time to gradually phase them out."
"In the long term government must offer tax rebates and subsidized set-top-boxes for the switch to affordable and meaningful to majority of Kenyans," he said.
He added that "This proposal is not new; the switch from analogue to digital took time and was backed by tax incentives, concessions, waivers and subsidies. It was not a question of shooting first and asking questions later."
"It was deliberative with public interest and welfare at the heart of the change. Media did not feel punished and the public was not deprived of information in manner the current disengage is being executed," the statement read.
The Amani Coalition leader says some Kenyans remain in the dark about the migration calling on the government raise awareness to help them understand what it is about.
"Millions do not know what this migration is all about and how they should respond."
"The dearth of awareness must first be resolved by government," he observed.