On November 30, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta delivered his 8th State of the Nation address to a joint parliamentary group of the National Assembly and Senate.
It was arguably the longest speech since he took reign in 2013, where he highlighted the tremendous achievements his government has made in various sectors of the economy.
The speech which spanned more than two hours, saw legislators dozing off in the chambers while the president himself complained that the speech was too long.
“I am trying to cut it short, I am also tired,” joked the president.President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi City County to deliver his 8th State of the Nation Address on Tuesday, November 30, 2021PSCU
As the present MPs and members of the public remained glued for the more than two hours, some took to the social media to air their views, saying that the speech in itself was boring for it did not spell out hope to Kenyans despite the long wait.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator and former leader of majority in the Senate Kipchumba Murkomen was among the first top leaders to ignite the debate online, saying that a law was needed to stipulate how long a state of the nation address should be.
“Parliament should pass law to set the maximum time that future Presidents will take in the State of the Nation Address. Like Winston Churchill said “a good speech should be like woman’s skirt ….” Tweeted Murkomen.
Garissa Township Member of Parliament Aden Duale also slammed State House communication team, accusing them of not putting the factor of time into consideration when writing the speech.
“I want to talk to the people who writes the president’s speech, you should give the president a summary speech,” said Duale.
Besides, the former National Assembly Leader of Majority and friend turned foe also poked holes into the content of the speech, saying that it did not address the critical issues Kenyans anticipated such as insecurity and the Pandora Papers leak.
Kenyans of Twitter (KOT), were also not left behind in the debate. “After 30minutes ya kwanza, nilieka Netflix. I hope you guys are enjoying the speech… joked one of the Tweeple.
“The last time I listened to such a long speech was when the late John Garang Demabior was addressing a gathering in Naivasha at the birth of Independent republic of Southern Sudan,” said another user.
But how long should a president’s speech be? Or what is the most recommended period of time that the public must pay attention to without losing focus?
According to a communication expert Dr, Beatrice Mbogoh, who heads the Department of Media and Film Studies at Daystar University, an effective and palatable speech should range in between 5 and 15 minutes.
However, she states that such a speech can give an extension of a maximum of 30 minutes, owing to the range of issues that the president has had to handle.
Dr. Mbogoh also states that it is upon the communication team of the president to professionally study the atmosphere of the country and give focus to the most anticipated topics.Head of Media and Film Studies Department at Daystar University Dr. Beatrice MbogohDaystar Univerity
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