Fueling the rumour mill

The media have, in the last two days, been taken on an unwanted ride by government officials for a very small but significant issue. When news first seeped out that top police officials had been sacked, a comedy of errors ensued. Government authorities outdid each other in passing the buck or simply feigning ignorance in what was an open secret. Many government officials who were contacted by The New Times to confirm the police story chose to bury their heads in the sand instead of clearing the air. The internal affairs minister referred the media to the police spokesman saying that he ‘was paid to do the job’, the deputy head of police passed the same buck, the spokesman in person said his bosses had not given him the green light to perfom his duty, and so the ping pong comedy went on.

The media have, in the last two days, been taken on an unwanted ride by government officials for a very small but significant issue. When news first seeped out that top police officials had been sacked, a comedy of errors ensued.

Government authorities outdid each other in passing the buck or simply feigning ignorance in what was an open secret.

Many government officials who were contacted by The New Times to confirm the police story chose to bury their heads in the sand instead of clearing the air.

The internal affairs minister referred the media to the police spokesman saying that he ‘was paid to do the job’, the deputy head of police passed the same buck, the spokesman in person said his bosses had not given him the green light to perfom his duty, and so the ping pong comedy went on.

When something like that happens, alarm bells sound in suspicious and inquisitive minds that something somewhere is not right, otherwise why the mystery surrounding such a simple administrative matter?

This not only goes contrary to the government’s policy of transparence in its institutions, it also fuels the rumour mills in town and later makes spin doctors scramble to control the damage.

Government officials should rise above the level of reproach and be accountable to the people, the taxpayers who meet their paychecks.

What profit do the Minister of Internal Affairs and other senior police officials gain by shrouding the affair in mystery other than fuelling the rumours?

A Kinyarwanda proverb when literally translated says, ‘reporting that someone has died does not make one the killer’ should be their guide in managing public affairs.

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