It is not true that USD7000 per night was spent on a presidential suite for the PM on his recent visit to New York. It amazes but does not surprise me people are still making this baseless and false claim even after the PM’s office has provided documentation to show the correct amount spent on the PM’s accommodation which is nowhere even close to this made up amount.
As pointed out in my earlier blog on this non-issue, there is nothing extravagant or corrupt about what was spent on the PM’s visit to New York or any other trips he has made for that matter. It is nonetheless a classic fallacy to set-up a false premise ending up with a conclusion that does not follow, especially when accomplished by someone with an ax to grind.
Thus, for example in this case, the fallacy goes as has been peddled here and elsewhere by the PM’s haters: The government spent “huge” amounts of money on Raila’s trip to New York therefore Raila must be extravagant, corrupt and does not care about the people suffering in Kibera and the rest of the country.
In reality, any amount of money spent on a prime minister’s or a president’s visit to a foreign country is by definition going to be “huge” relatively speaking. It does not therefore follow that any prime minister or president who undertakes such a trip at such “huge” expense is “extravagant,” “corrupt,” or does not care about the suffering of his or her country.
The sole question to be asked for purposes of accountability is as I stated in my earlier blog on this whether the amount spent for the PM’s accommodation is reasonable and commensurate with that spent by someone holding the same office, i.e., a prime minister and clearly the answer in this case is yes the amount was quite reasonable and appropriate for our PM.
Again, as the PM stated and I agree with him, we do not expect him to say in some dingy backstreet hotel while in official or even private visits
Talking about extravagance and wasteful government spending, the PM’s trips cannot be compared to Kalonzo Musyoka’s on his so called lobbying which everyone including Kalonzo agrees was such a waste of tax payer’s money. Those mentioning expenditures on the PM’s trips in the same breath as those of Kalonzo are disingenuous at best and malicious at worst to the extent they know and appreciate the distinction but yet carelessly lump the same together and condemn them both as extravagant and wasteful government spending, in efforts to sully the PM’s good name.
In fact, it was unwise and wrong for the media and everyone else to have jumped on this fake story without knowing these facts just because LM Kutuny lobbed the charge in Parliament.
As stated in my earlier blog, Kuttuny and the like questioning the Prime Minister’s travel expenses are disingenuous because they are doing this simply for cheap publicity gained from smearing the PM and not because they care about “extravagant” expenditure of public funds.
The PM should not even be expected to answer these types of questions in Parliament; rather, MPs should direct these questions to the appropriate offices that coordinate the PM’s travels. I realize and appreciate we are into the new political dispensation in the country but a line of discipline must be maintained at all levels, especially for the presidency and the PM’s office which must be held in high respect and dignity.
Subjecting the PM to questions of this type during his Q&A in Parliament in my view is inappropriate, uncalled for, and serve only to provide an opportunity for shameless characters like Kutuny to embarrass the PM even by just asking the questions for they leave a false impression that even countering with facts does not completely erase.
The Speaker should remind Kutuny and the like they have a right and privilege to speak in Parliament without fear of being hauled to court for defamation and slander but that’s a right they must not abuse as Kuttuny has obviously done in this and other instances.