The me­dia must stop false al­le­ga­tions

Each cry of cor­rup­tion is in­tro­duced with ‘shock and awe’ but no sub­stance

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - NGUNJIRI WAMBUGU Po­lit­i­cal af­fairs con­sul­tant

One of Ae­sop’s fables is a tale of a shep­herd boy who had been tasked with tak­ing care of a flock of sheep that be­longed to a cer­tain vil­lage. Ev­ery morn­ing, he used to take them to the forested hills sur­round­ing the vil­lage to graze and bring them down in the evening. These hills were in­hab­ited by wolves and other wild an­i­mals. The vil­lagers al­ways cau­tioned the boy to be care­ful.

How­ever, watch­ing the sheep graze ev­ery day be­came bor­ing with time. To cre­ate some ex­cite­ment, the young fel­low de­cided to come up with a game. Ev­ery cou­ple of weeks the boy would run down the hills in the early af­ter­noon scream­ing, ‘Wolves!!! Wolves!!! Wolves!!!” The vil­lagers would quickly take up what­ever farm tools were near them as weapons and run up the hills to res­cue him. Pant­ing, the boy look­ing very scared would tell them how a pack of wolves had de­scended on his flock, killed most of them and dragged the car­casses away. The men would run into the for­est hop­ing to save what­ever was left of the flock while the women would carry what they saw as a fright­ened boy back to the vil­lage. But then, the men would come back lead­ing all the sheep and hav­ing seen no signs of wolves. The young boy would then burst out into glee­ful laugh­ter at how he had tricked an en­tire vil­lage.

One day, the wolves ac­tu­ally at­tacked his sheep. He came run­ning down the hill scream­ing about it at the top of his voice, but no one was both­ered. The women in the fields did not even look up. The men con­tin­ued do­ing what they were do­ing. At sun­set, ev­ery­one won­dered why the shep­herd boy hadn’t re­turned to the vil­lage with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weep­ing.

The Kenyan me­dia, civil so­ci­ety and po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion are be­hav­ing like the young boy. Ev­ery so of­ten, the me­dia will splash a scream­ing head­line ‘Sh5 bil­lion looted in min­istry of Health’. The op­po­si­tion will hold press con­fer­ences telling us how cor­rupt the Ju­bilee govern­ment is. Civil so­ci­ety will then or­gan­ise demon­stra­tions de­mand­ing some­one be fired for be­ing be­hind it. No one both­ers to pro­vide proof or fol­low due process.

The Lap­top project, the SGR, the Lamu Coal project, the GDC, JKIA New Ter­mi­nal, the IEBC, Lamu land al­lo­ca­tions, the CCTV project, the dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion, the Galana Ir­ri­ga­tion project, Waitiki Land al­lo­ca­tions, among oth­ers, are some of the projects that have been al­leged to be cor­rupted.

Each cry of cor­rup­tion is in­tro­duced with ‘shock and awe’ but no sub­stance. Then it dis­ap­pears in the wake of a ‘new scan­dal’. Then the very ex­is­tence of so many ac­cu­sa­tions be­comes jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that some­thing must be wrong, oth­er­wise why would so many al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion ex­ist!

God for­bid one of the al­le­ga­tions ac­tu­ally turns out to be true, which will of course hap­pen when you have a pub­lic ser­vice of 250,000 em­ploy­ees man­ag­ing an an­nual bud­get of Sh2 tril­lion. This then be­comes proof that all the other al­le­ga­tions must be true. They just have not been proven too.

This sit­u­a­tion is not sus­tain­able. Just like the young shep­herd and the vil­lage, we are be­ing ex­posed to sen­sa­tional cor­rup­tion cases ev­ery day that are not sup­ported by any ev­i­dence.

We also never get to the bot­tom of any, mov­ing on to the next sen­sa­tional ‘scan­dal’ be­fore con­clud­ing on the first. Then nearly all of them take po­lit­i­cal an­gles, and are dis­cussed with eth­nic un­der­tones.

The day there will be an ac­tual pack of wolves on the hori­zon, no one will be­lieve it.

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