I've come to expect a certain amount of foolishness from government communications types, that's what they're paid to do. So when one Munyori Buku goes off on a rant about 'economic sabotage', I don’t lose any sleep over it, because I understand where he's coming from. That's a lie, I do not understand how a free thinking individual of sound mind can say the nonsense he says, all regular like, but I do understand the need to do his master's bidding. This is what the man was quoted as saying a couple of weekends back:
On Saturday, Mr Munyori Buku, the director of media and external relations at State House, termed the advisories and evacuations as economic sabotage.
“Could somebody be green all the face with envy over the recent visit by the Chinese premier (Mr Li Keqiang)? Well, Kenya as a sovereign nation picks its friends,” said Mr Buku. The President’s spokesman added that the Coast evacuations were based on nothing tangible noting that some British tourists had complained that they did not understand why they were being asked to go back home.
“This is a straight forward and shut case – economic sabotage!” he told the Sunday Nation.
This is the president's spokesman, mind you, so we can only assume what he says is what his boss thinks, unless clearly stated otherwise. Now while I have little love for my prezzo's random theories, especially after the dodgy so-ve-reign story during his campaign, this claim was a bit much. Didn’t he just pay some unnamed foreigners, who were not Chinese, 1.4B? I wrote this off as pathetic Jubilee spin and moved on, secure in the knowledge that my fellow citizens wouldn’t fall for such an idiotic ruse.
I should have known better.
Sunday morning, this was the first thing I read, Is there Western conspiracy to end Jubilee rule before its five-year term?, courtesy of a malicious news junkie friend who sent me the link at 2:30 am. I don't even know where to start...
First up, the western media conspiracy. The New York Times had the gall, gall I tell you, to print a picture of the student riots 'on their front page'. How could they? Before you get worked up, kindly take a look at the image, Pictures of the Day: Kenya and Elsewhere. It's not nearly as bad as I expected (especially given that the paper bitching are the idiots who had a blood all over their front page, no?). From what I can tell, there was no write up in the NYT on the riots, just the photo (if anyone has a link, please post it in the comments). The way they tell it, we should be most upset that the only pictures of Kenya the NYT chooses to print are of terror attacks, what appear to be overzealous riot police and (probably) wildebeest. Problem is, I don’t read the NYT and therefore I have no clue what pictures of us they regularly print, nor do I much care. I suspect the geniuses at the Nation who wrote this...
It is no mean feat to get anything Kenyan covered by the New York Times. It’s one of the highly regarded newspapers in the US, published out of the city after which it is named and which is America’s financial capital.
...are not regular readers either, judging by their need to tell us that the New York Times is published in New York, because there's a chance it's published in Ohio or such like. Not content with that little piece of brilliance, they then threw in the Brits.
In Britain, the Daily Mail and The Telegraph also played up the pictures from the student riots. Although they are independent newspapers that make their own editorial judgment [sic], conspiracy theorists were quick to judge it as part of a wider conspiracy by Western nations to punish the Jubilee government in line with the “choices have consequences” statement made by a former US diplomat for Africa, Mr Johnnie Carson.
The Daily Mail had a brief write up and 19 photos of the riots, most of which paint the riot cops in a less than flattering light, save for the one where the cops are helping (yes, helping) a man with a cut on his head. Now, not to malign the Mail, but it's not one of the more serious papers over yonder, which is to say they have a love for sensational 'news', which is to say they're a bit tabloid. A quick search for Kenya on their pages gives roughly the same number of results for Kenya, the country, and Kenya Moore, some random reality TV star. Not exactly the place to be looking for foreign policy conspiracies, is it? The Daily Telegraph is a slightly more serious outfit, but it doesn’t seem to have any pictures of the riots, or an article (Latest and breaking news from Kenya). They do however have the story of a British aid worker who died of malaria a couple of days ago, so...
Our journos then conclude,
Western media have also increasingly been giving heightened coverage to acts of terrorism and insecurity in Kenya – which the government says is out of proportion with the reality in the country.
Out of proportion.
This is the second part of the conspiracy: 'it's not that serious'.
Mrs Kandie thinks that those issuing travel advisories and the media coverage of recent events in Kenya have been blown out of proportion.
“Our country’s image and reputation is being slowly eroded by exaggeration of and over-reaction to these incidences by some of our foreign partners leading to extreme travel advisories, to the point of evacuation, that are causing hotel closures and job losses,” she said. “But the most critical and most hurtful aspect is the erosion of the confidence in this country and this destination. Our reputation as a tourism destination is at stake.”
She doesn’t come out and claim conspiracy, to her credit she doesn’t even imply it. Hers is to point out the damage being done to the economy, the scale of the sabotage as it were, billions it would seem. (The tourism numbers are also another post.) In her attempt to tow the 'foreign media are being mean' line, she may have slipped up a little...
Mrs Kandie is also critical of media coverage accorded to Kenya abroad. “It is a well-known and understood fact that foreign media rely heavily on our local media as reference points on the stories they report on insecurity. Naturally foreign media when lifting stories from local reports will often misrepresent the situation to our national detriment.”
“I am not suggesting by any means that you divert from telling the truth, or water down stories, I am merely asking for a heightened awareness of the impact of our headlines, judgment [sic] in crafting them and a constant eye on national interest,” she added.
Reading that, one gets the impression she blames our guys for the crap in the papers out there, no? From this statement, our media is sabotaging us, too.
Mr Buku clarified...
State House in part believes that the advisories and the intense media coverage the country has received lately from some foreign media houses is part of a bigger conspiracy against Kenya.
“The plan to justify evacuation of tourists and lockdown of embassies was evidence. It was surprising to see last week’s university riots on the front pages of some major Western newspapers yet the needless riots didn’t even get much of front page coverage in Nairobi,” said a State House spokesman Munyori Buku.
Then came the punishment conspiracy, part three of the conspiracy narrative. This is an extension of the so-ve-reign bullshit from last year, bullshit I refuse to get back into, because it's bullshit. I know there are some who believe these theories, but it's time we stopped entertaining foolishness in our politics. Yes, the West doesn’t want what's in our best interest, but neither does the East, or even Tanzania. Here's a shocking idea, countries look out for their own interests. Is the white man looking to screw us over? Yes. Is it because we're black? Possibly, but the mzungu is probably more interested in the cash he stands to make than the colour of our skin (money trumps bigotry, just ask that Clippers mzee). Is our government looking to protect us from the evil white man? No, not even remotely, those buggers will sell us down the river for a hustler jet and a suitcase of dollars. Are 'we' being punished? Hmmm...
Political scientist Peter Kagwanja says that the West is undoubtedly out to punish the Jubilee coalition and possibly cause Kenyans to drive the government out of power for its open association with China.
“The conspiracy is deeper and practical than it is appearing. When you begin to think of a campaign, the first thing that you factor in is the media. There is an effort to create an impression in the public that Kenya is not working, that the two leaders are unable to govern. There is a consistent plan,” said Prof Kagwanja. He says that in his reading, there is a connection between the university riots and the advisories and then the assertion by the Opposition that Jubilee is failing.
Anyone who can link student riots, travel advisories and the jokers at CORD deserves a medal, no? Incidentally, the riots deserve a separate post, because it turned out to be quite the rabbit hole. The scientist continues...
“There is an Egyptian script. Whether it will succeed or not, they are trying it. Within one year of (former Egyptian President) Morsi’s election, the West sponsored a popular uprising. You smear and then move in for the kill by getting Opposition politicians to mobilise the people and bring them out on the streets and then publicise it to the world. Within that chaotic environment, create a transitional authority and then an election follows and they can pick a person of their choice,” said Prof Kagwanja.
Going by this logic, the West is grooming the opposition to take over. Shall we all take a minute to laugh our asses off? Which opposition? Eish. That said, this was a clever way to slide in Raila without actually mentioning his name. The man has been in...wait for it...America, for the past how many months? Grooming, no? And the Egypt bit is brilliant, subliminally linking CORD to a would be pseudo military junta. Problem is, he's just compared Kamwana and co. to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hang on, this may be the one thing he got right, save for the whole Muslim thing. Yes, I'm being sarcastic.
These genius journos, having reinforced their conspiracy claim, then threw in the senator for Mombasa.
Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar does not believe there is a conspiracy against Kenya by Western power but says it is possible that Kenya’s traditional Western allies have been rattled by Jubilee’s dalliance with Beijing.
He however criticised the West’s response to terror attacks in Kenya.
“I fault the Western because Kenya has been a traditional ally. Also, this is about business markets and business. Our reaction should have been; how do we sort out the problems so that the numbers of tourists can flow. It is a fallacy to think that Chinese will come where there is insecurity. Is there a way that we can improve security so that tourists and indeed all Kenyans are safe? The approach should have been totally different. Advisories should be preceded by consultation,” said the Senator.
This was the only part of this article that made sense. I have no idea how it ended up there.