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In Dubai, Nation saw billions it couldn’t show

You know about the recent climate change conference in Dubai, where Kenya showed up with jumbo-jet loads of participants?

The Daily Nation reported that Kenya secured billions of dollars from the event – hundreds of billions of shillings. Then, the story forgot to show the billions.

Instead, the December 3 story titled, “COP23: Kenya bags 680 billion deals amid gravy train query” by Moses Nyamori dwelt on everything else except, what? The money.

The story was about Kenya’s huge delegation to Dubai and wastage of public money on international travel.

Kenya had 765 delegates in Dubai. A Boeing 777 carries 312 to 388 passengers – meaning, Kenya needed two jumbo jets for Dubai.

The story insinuated that government had flown out all these people. It did not inform the reader how many were government employees and how many were private citizens. And whether all of them were there for the full period or appearance was staggered.

The first half of the story dwelt on the huge numbers. The Kenyan delegation was the third largest in Africa, after Nigeria with 1,411 people and Morocco with 823 people, the story said.

And we were 13th worldwide, beating even larger economies like Canada, Israel, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Russia, Italy, Germany, Singapore, blah, blah, blah.

All good. But where was the Kenya-bags-billions story? Was there an itch to scratch, a compelling force to tell what Kenya got from flying out so many people whose participation in the conference nobody justified, and the press didn’t track?

The only mention of this was up in the blurb, if you read it: “President Ruto said the country has bagged mega deals worth $4.48 billion at the ongoing conference.”

That was it. The body of the story had no mention of it.That was bad enough. But even if the Nation had written about the money, it still wouldn’t be enough to just throw words about billions bagged.

Do not parrot unverified claims, even from the President. The President is a politician. How do you know you’re not perpetuating propaganda? Show, don’t tell.

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