• For the first time, Kenyans were treated to a properly coordinated communication as the recovery process began.
• State took charge until recovery mission was complete, no other channels were giving information except the government.
The untimely demise of the Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu at the Likoni channel was one of the most painful experiences witnessed in the country.
But for the first time, Kenyans were treated to a properly coordinated communication as the recovery process began. Public Relations during crisis demands that a single chain of command is established. The Office of the Government Spokesperson delivered on this effectively.
Kenyans have been treated to very uncontrolled communication by the government in the past where anyone would address the media without taking into consideration the principles of public relations and crisis management. The tragedy provided a new frontier on government communication. This is how it’s supposed to be done.
The government took charge until the mission was accomplished. Cyrus Oguna single-handedly controlled information that was being released to the public, even the county government and all other agencies could not speak or release official information to the media. PR simply means keeping a mutual relationship with stakeholders by telling the truth on matters that affect them.
At some point, Kenyans and the media reported disappointment when the vehicle could not be retrieved. From the communication on the tragedy, we learn that during a crisis, its key for a single chain of command to be established to coordinate information. Secondly, agencies must learn to communicate precisely, factually and only when necessary.
PR experts must also advise their superiors on managing stakeholders’ expectations as well as relaying the truth in an organised manner. The government deserves some praise for this.