The story that got away

The events in Libya, Syria and Jerusalem have pretty much blotted out the rest of the news this week. Occasionally, a story on the UK budget cuts, the resignation of Portugal’s Prime Minister and the upward creep of oil prices filtered through the noise of the bigger stories to make it to our general conscience.

The events in Libya, Syria and Jerusalem have pretty much blotted out the rest of the news this week. Occasionally, a story on the UK budget cuts, the resignation of Portugal’s Prime Minister and the upward creep of oil prices filtered through the noise of the bigger stories to make it to our general conscience.

It struck me that, as spectacular and newsworthy as the events in North Africa and the Middle East are, a lot of good stories were being under-reported as a result.

Example, our very own President Paul Kagame, in an article carried by ‘The Times’ [later on reproduced in this paper] expressed his support for the UN resolution 1973, and its implementation by certain nations, placing a no-fly zone over Libya and authorising any actions, short of invasion, carried out to protect Libyan civilians.

‘BBC Afrique’ faithfully reported the President’s thoughts on the issue within the week. The way the story was broken on radio gave the impression that the African Union and all African nations were opposed to the action in Libya except Rwanda.

“It was conveniently forgotten that Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa voted for the same resolution.

Meantime, in the same week, Rwanda was one of five African countries that signed the UN Joint Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity that called on states to refrain from persecuting their citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Why wasn’t it a story, positive or negative slanted included, that a country in the centre of Africa, with a large Christian majority and generally conservative morals has chosen, in principle, to commit itself to protection of all its people, hetero and homosexual?

This is especially interesting given the position and public proclamations of some politicians in a neighbouring country.

Of course, this story cannot even begin to compete with the scream of supersonic fighter jets taking off for Libya or the shockwave of a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem.

I just think that perhaps a ticker mention at the bottom of an international TV or the websites of major news outlets would not go amiss.
 
It was also reported last week that the Auditor General had noted discrepancies in the way the money destined for flood victims was spent.

The Auditor General was being polite and not saying what we all think whenever we read about ‘major discrepancies’.

Some people had either stolen or misspent taxpayer funded Government aid meant to rebuild shelter for victims of flooding in the Western Province last year. 

This story is of particular interest not only for the blatant abuse of vulnerable, the misuse of vital and often scarce public resources but also in the context of last month’s local elections.

If local administrators colluded in these ‘discrepancies’, and it’s hard to see how these happened without the participation of at least one or two of them,  many of them have since left office.

Add this to about two months of head start on the report [plenty time to ‘lose’ files] and one can begin to see how prosecuting these officials will prove to be difficult.

Perhaps, the wheels of justice turn silently as well as slowly, but I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering how discrepancy causing local administrators will be pursued now that many of them have left their positions.

This, for me is the story that got away and we can’t even blame it own the headline hogging events in North Africa.

okabatende@gmail.com

 

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