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Has Muthui Kariuki lost ethics in his duty as government spokesman?

By Samuel Omwenga | July 26th 2013

By Samuel Omwenga

NAIROBI, KENYA: Watching government spokesman Muthui Kariuki on Thursday night reacting to events at the Kisii burial attended by Cord leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and others, one may wonder whether he is really conversant with communication skills.

He might as well be a highly educated and qualified professional of some field but he comes across as an illiterate person who never went to school and knows not a thing about communications, let alone being a spokesman of the government.

He violates Cardinal Rule No. 1 for a spokesperson any communications student will tell you and that is you do not show emotion or otherwise be entangled with the issue or issues you talking about.

Watching this fellow whine about Raila and the heckling of Cabinet Secretary for ICT Dr. Fred Matiangi in Kisii one can rightly assume he or she is watching a hapless partisan or political hack in action, not a government spokesman.

While political consideration and calculations is always behind every message passed on by a government spokesman, there is actually a difference between government policy and partisan politics.

When one rolls both into one, you no longer have a national government; you have a regime driven by one and only one agenda and that's how to cling to power.

If that's what Jubilee wants, then this Kariuki person suits their needs perfectly.

If it's a national government they want; one that's not there to only serve their selfish and partisan interests,  then they should either send this spokesperson to take a crash course in communications and send him out only to talk about things that are serious and of interest to the country, not whining about things better handled without such exaggerated or manufactured drama.

If the government has evidence that someone organized the heckling of speakers at the Kisii event, let them show us what laws were broken and charge those they deem guilty.

If the government believes Raila has refused to surrender government vehicles, there is no shortage of means they can use to get those vehicles back than whining about it.

If Raila is using illegal sirens or breaking traffic laws, that's a matter for traffic police who should treat him no different than they treat retired presidents Moi and Kibaki.

It would be obviously stupid and moronic for anyone to say Raila should be accorded less dignty and honor as our former prime minister simply because he is still active in public affairs.

All retired leaders unless bed-ridden or otherwise incapable of doing so routinely engage in public affairs and some even come back from retirement to seek public office or appointments.

Nothing wrong with that.

The benefits and privileges of retirement are in recognition of past contributions, not a reward or punishment for future conduct or level of participation in public affairs.

Raila and Kibaki both served as co-leaders under the law and both are entitled to identical retirement benefits it matters not a whit what either or both intend to or actually do in the future.

Jubilee therefore must decide whether addressing the myriad of problems afflicting most Kenyans is their priority or "taming" Raila is.

In hindsight, they could not have a better spokesman for the latter than this fellow they have there now.



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