Old Father Time is shuffling his way to the end of the year, a scythe over his shoulder and an hour glass in hand with the sands of time fast draining away. It is still the season to be jolly however, and also the Kenya Forum notes, to get in a few good lynchings and throw more taxpayers money at government advertising, before the year is finally out.
LYNCH THE USUAL SUSPECTS…
The Daily Nation’s Christmas Eve edition noted (the Forum says ‘noted’ because the story only warranted two or three centimeters in a side column on page 11) that ‘three gangsters’ had been ‘lynched at Njambini village in Nyandarua South District following a botched robbery’. The gang had been armed and attempted to steal Sh600,000 before some of them were caught and strung up.
Three more ‘people suspected to have been stealing goats and cattle’ were lynched by a ‘angry villages in Kinango district’, according to The Star’s weekend edition (December 24/25).
Another ‘suspected goat thief’ was ‘killed by an angry mob in Kagaa village in Makuyu Muranga’a, reported The People on December 28. The ‘suspected’ thief was caught skinning the animal ‘a few meters from the owner’s homestead. Before being killed (the suspect that is, not the goat) ‘he was forced to disclose names of his accomplices’. Sounds like the goat got the best end of the deal.
Well if you will attempt an armed robbery, or stealing goats and cattle, what can you expect? Arrest, charges laid and the due process of the law, says the Forum.
We addressed this issue in previous postings, such as, ‘Kenya’s “Strange Fruit” and Impunity of the Mob…’, and ‘The Story so far: Matatus, ‘Lynchings’, the KCC and NCC…’ . We still say ‘lynching’ is murder, and we ask, where were the police?
GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING – $24,700,000 AND COUNTING…
The East African’s business page (December 26 – January 1 edition) reported that the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, a subsidiary of Scangroup, had ‘bagged’ three government advertising accounts worth $1.6 million in the last six months of 2011. Over the last nine months, the paper said, total advertising spending by the Kenyan government had reached $24.7 million (that’s US dollars note, not Shillings).
Aside from the fact that ‘Scamad’ have such a dangerous monopoly position in Kenya’s advertising market (of which more on another day) the Kenya Forum has serious doubts as to whether a high percentage of government spending on advertising is worth the money.
Day-in-day-out our newspapers carry full page colour advertisements from government departments and agencies, most of them appallingly designed, many of them virtually unreadable, and each page costing in the region of Sh500,000 (depending on the newspaper, day of the week and positioning of the advert).
The Kenya Forum wonders if the officials responsible for placing the advertisements had ever thought of putting out a press release, holding a press conference, or just briefing a journalist or two over coffee. It would be a lot cheaper and the message would get through to the public far more effectively.
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS…
Some of the advertisements also stretch the reader’s credulity, assuming they can be bothered to wade through the tiny print in the first place.
One full-page colour advertisement in The Standard last from the ‘Office of the President, Ministry of State for Special Programmes’, was headlined ‘Progress on Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons’. Leaving to one side why we still have IDPs four years after the post-election violence that displaced them, the advertisement’s conclusion engendered more than a little skepticism.
It read, ‘In order to fast track the resettlement [of IDPs], the government has set up a specific task force [what kept them, says the Forum?] comprising senior officers from various ministries’. There was more. ‘The team will work round the clock including weekends and public holidays starting from this festive season so as to ensure that genuine IDPs are settled within the shortest time possible’.
Right, sure, ha ha ha, the team will be working ‘round the clock’, at ‘weekends and public holidays’, ‘starting from this festive season’, of course.
The name at the foot of the advertisement was a Mr Andrew A. O. Mondoh, CBS, Permanent Secretary. There were no contact numbers or email addresses on the advertisement. The Forum tried to contact Mr Mondoh at his office on December 28. No reply. He must have been working in the field.