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How to spot hot air in hyped political news that lacks facts

Ruto’s big silence as healthcare system collapses (Standard lead story, April 2, p.1). Intro: Questions are being asked as President William Ruto has maintained a studious silence as the ongoing medics strike gets more intense after clinical officers downed tools yesterday.

Alafu para 3: The President, who directed the Head of Public Service Felix Kosgei to seek a solution to the strike, has been silent as Kenyan suffer. Swali: Can the President be accurately described as “mute”, maintaining “a studious silence” or “silent” yet he “directed the Head of Public Service Felix Kosgei to seek a solution to the strike”?

President Ruto is working on an elaborate plan to elevate Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi’s political stature after it emerged that the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary is ready to have his Amani National Congress (ANC) fold into the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) (Nation, April 9, p.4). Sawa. So, what’s Ruto’s “elaborate plan” to elevate MaDVD?

Para 6: But even though Mr Mudavadi relinquished his ANC party leader’s post to Lamu Governor Issa Timamy after he was appointed PCS, he could benefit from one of the UDA deputy party leader’s slots, a position that would politically put him at par with Mr Gachagua. That’s speculation, not hard fact, not “an elaborate plan”, ama namna gani?

Para 17: It still remains unclear whether Mr Mudavadi would take up one of the UDA deputy party leader’s slots or he would recommend a close ally given that he will still remain a state officer until 2027.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, what is Ruto’s “elaborate plan” to elevate MaDVD’s political stature as declared in the intro? No plan revealed. Stori za jaba. Hot air.

So dire is the situation that religious leaders have made an urgent appeal to the government to consider engaging the medics who have vowed not to resume duty until their demands for better salaries and conditions of service are met (Nation, April 9, p.7). How do journalists know the situation is “dire” after medics downed their tools? Religious leaders spoke about it. That’s a logical fallacy known as appeal to authority.

A spot check by the Nation yesterday established empty wards as patients continued to bear the brunt of the work boycott across public health facilities. Baas, that’s now logical evidence of a “dire” situation, not the opinions of religious leaders (most don’t even use public hospitals anyway).

Senators across the political divide have criticised the sustained attacks on Busia Senator and lawyer Okiya Omtatah and called on investigative agencies to expedite the probe (Standard, April 5, p.4). A national newspaper should know that Kenya’s number one public litigant is not a lawyer.

The multibillion-dollar human trafficking industry has evolved, with new trends involving the use of online platforms to recruit unsuspecting victims (Star, April 5, p.10). Human trafficking is not an “industry” (affirmative framing). It is a crime.

Oloolaimatia School in Narok County stole the show on the first day of the 62nd edition of the Kenya Schools and Colleges National Drama and Film Festival with their colourful Maasai dance that was centred around human-wildlife conflict. (Nation, April 9, p.2). An intro of 39 words. Aim at half, especially when starting with a tongue-torturingg name like Oloolaimatia and a schools competition with nine words. Reading should be enjoyed, not endured.

If you are a student in a Kenyan university harbouring ambitions for student body politics, one of your points to ponder is how to get the millions for campaigns, and not necessarily the votes (Star, April 9, p.18). It is just student politics, not “student body politics”.

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