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We didn’t expect Oguna to do backflips during TV interview

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GABRIEL OGUDA

By GABRIEL OGUDA
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This week will be remembered for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s refusal to be associated with criminals, locusts taking up the teargas challenge, and lawyer Miguna Miguna successfully drying the tongue of Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, the Government Spokesman.

What began as a cordial interview quickly degenerated into a lecture, with Col Oguna getting free lessons on human rights violations, the rule of law and international travel for dummies.

While it was Dr Miguna who was using a network connection outside the country, it was Col Oguna’s connection that kept going off, which could either mean that Kenya’s internet is terrible or the besieged spokesman was buying time to quarrel with his notes.

Any Kenyan of sound mind watching that interview agreed that no employee should ever let their employer subject them to such an embarrassing fix.

There are many gadgets to which employees can turn to protect the image of their employers, but a laundry machine shouldn’t be one of them.

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When you take up the job of government spokesperson, you take an oath to convincingly defend the Constitution, the honour of your office and the government’s bad behaviour.

Of the three up above, defending government’s bad behaviour should be the easiest of them all, because all you need is a sharp mouth and tough eyes – in short, the human version of a woodpecker.

And, like the animal equivalent, the human woodpecker needs to perch only on trees he can comfortably pierce, and Miguna is not one of those.

When you are ill-prepared for something, it will always show in your body language and vocal cords.

But when you’re ill-prepared for an interview with Miguna, you go knowing that you are volunteering your ego to be used as mop, because he has a habit of wiping the floor with people’s egos and handing them back, rugged and wet.

Had the government informed Kenyans that their next spokesperson was going to be a mop, we would have advised them to save the money and use it to repay China loans.

During this period of austerity, there are many ways of demonstrating your patriotism, including paying patriotic tax.

When you are paid to lie, there is a need to put an effort in making the lies believable. You can quote Shakespeare, Mark Twain, or even your pet dog.

If you have no one to quote, throw your audience into a spin by referring them to a quote in a book that is yet to be written, in the spirit of Vision 2030.

From that interview, you would be excused if you concluded that Dr Miguna was the one with the job of explaining government policy as Oguna gets paid for it.

We expect that a lot will change in government after that interview that should have been marketed as the next episode of ‘Total Wipeout’.

In the next ad for the post of government spokesperson, Kenyans expect a new list of skillsets, including the ability to switch off the internet when overwhelmed with inquiry, the ability to keep your cool when confronted with new knowledge, and the ability to beat a lie until it confesses to be the truth.

When a retired military man was appointed government spokesman, it was a welcome relief, because these people have tantalising retirement benefits, and we thought we finally got someone who was not motivated by the allure of money, but by his love for his country and its people.

From what we watched this week, this perception has since been revised.

When we heard that a military man had been given this job, we thought it was a marked improvement from his predecessor, who was once in the National Police Service.

This is because the Kenya Defence Forces and the police are worlds apart in dogma, discipline and prestige.

Their planes fly faster than Eliud Kipchoge, can do backflips in the air, and spray rainbow smoke for colour enthusiasts to marvel at during national holidays.

We did not expect Cyrus Oguna to carry over this behaviour into government service.

Journalists invited to his weekly press briefings should remind the man that he is no longer in the KDF and, therefore, he should avoid doing somersaults on his earlier press statements and issuing mixed coloured signals.



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