Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Govt. spokesman too clever by half

Government spokesman, one hapless Dr. Alfred Mutua, must surely be holding the most thankless of jobs in the country, albeit well paying. I do not know what his job description entails but why a supposedly learned fellow would go out of his way to spew nonsense in defense of political party shenanigans is beyond me.

The PNU has recently been alleged to be engaging in questionable misuse of the administration police, obviously with government complicity, to carry out mischievous pranks that amount to electoral fraud. After clips were aired on television attesting to these deceitful acts, the good doctor came out with guns firing aimlessly and declared that nothing was amiss. That;

  • The KTN was displaying shoddy journalism because they should have contacted defense minister J. Michuki first for clarification or the AP Commandant or Mutua himself before going on air with the story.
  • That the relocation of the policemen was normal practice, like in previous elections, to provide security at the poll stations.
  • That privately owned buses were hired to ferry the ‘hundreds of thousands’ of policemen because the units did not have enough buses for the job. That the buses were more comfortable for the ‘more than a thousand kilometer, journey.

First, Michuki and the Commandant are at the centre of the allegations. What would one expect them to say other than deny, deny, deny? And the last time the old snake was rattled, a media house nearly burnt down. I guess once bitten, twice shy. As for Mutua, he’d have to get the facts from Michuki and the Commandant anyway. Although he just cannot skip a moment to speak even when he doesn’t have the ‘facts’.

Secondly, if the suspicious night relocation is normal practice, why did it not raise eyebrows the previous times when so much more was at stake for the incumbents? May be because they did not have a Mutua to make a bad situation worse. And why is there no movement reported from the NYS, GSU camps?

Third, it is all well to ferry policemen around in comfort. But how many? What figure is ‘hundreds of thousands’? The officially stated ratio of policeman to civilian in Kenya is 1:1000, which puts the force number to about 40,000. Who are the other ‘hundreds of thousands’ and what would they all be doing in Nairobi? Even if one were to be generous to Mutua and grant him the lower end of his figure, say 100,000, he would require 1600 (62-seater) buses to ferry them. To where? If, as he says, the journeys are 1000km from Nairobi, these folks will be disembarking outside the Kenya border!

Shouldn’t a government spokesman have all his facts right before attempting to spin them for advantage? These old wives tales just don’t sell

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