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Coup plot claims are serious, act on them

By The Standard | June 3rd 2016

Eric Kiraithe, the Government Spokesman likes to court controversy.

At the height of the 2007/08 post-election violence, then the Police Spokesman, Mr Kiraithe coldly dismissed the killing of a protester in Kisumu captured on KTN as the creation of an enthusiastic media. He was roundly condemned and forced to eat his words. So a few were people surprised when Mr Kiraithe, now the Government Spokesman, last week sensationally claimed that some neighbouring countries were formenting political upheaval in the country. Right-thinking Kenyans would have dismissed his frightening claims as the phantasmagoria of a publicity-seeking Government apparatchik were they not as grave.

A plot to overturn a duly elected Government is treasonable. Mr Kiraithe therefore, owes it to Kenyans to reveal those hellbent on undermining our nationhood and our sovereignty. If Mr Kiraithe had allowed his police training to take effect, he would have realised it was imprudent to raise the alarm before proper investigations are conducted. Mr Kiraithe, we believe, knows what he was talking about; he knows the consequences of doing what he said; he knows the penalty of failing to prove what he claimed.

If Mr Kiraithe is not held accountable, it would be easy to assume that this was a case of Government hitting out blindly and making alarmist claims. The expectation is that with plausible evidence of a sinister plot, the authorities would have done the right thing by arresting the conspirators to nip their evil designs in the bud.

In the absence of compelling evidence, coup claims can only be taken as Government propaganda to silence an increasingly vocal Opposition agitating for change the Government is not comfortable with. Such statements also play into the hands of the Opposition who might claim the Government is setting up grounds to harass and arrest Opposition leaders on tramped-up charges. 

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