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Mwaura only needed zeros to explain Sh200m Hustler jet

Isaac Mwaura is a good man. But the government’s chief spin-master, needs to learn a thing or two about how to handle the media; how to stay calm and take media questions in his stride without dismissing journalists as shenzis (fools) and ibilisis (demons).

So, today we offer a free lesson to Isaac. You could call it, Coms 100: Introduction to how to handle media questions as Government Spokesperson.

Question: Exactly how much is the President spending on the trip to the United States?

Isaac, take a deep breath, stay calm, and repeat after us:

That is a good question, John (call the journalist by first name.) Now, as you all may be aware, the President is not travelling alone. He is travelling with an entourage of carefully selected subject matter experts and negotiators who are necessary when it comes to signing important deals in diverse fields from transport, to health, education, housing, to finance, name it.

The President is also carrying along a team of chief executives from the private sector. The President has included members of the Opposition, selected youths, and women leaders from various sectors.

Needless to say, some of you members of the Fourth Estate are in the President’s entourage. This is not a small team.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, some of you might have heard of something called economies of scale. Let me give you an example. If you were travelling with a group of, say, 10 friends from Koibatek to Mombasa, and you realised that each of you would spend Sh 10,000 if you were to travel by bus, what would you do?

Let us go back to basic mathematics, again. What is Sh10,000 x 10? Yes, anyone? Yes, it comes to Sh100,000. Correct. I did not know that you guys know math. I thought journalists are not good at Math. I now stand corrected.

Now, let us assume that someone at Koibatek has a good car, and offered to hire it out for say, Sh90,000 What would you prefer – to take the bus to Mombasa and pay a total of Sh100,000 plus all the inconveniences involved, or take the offer of a personal car at Sh90,000? Which is cheaper and more convenient?

Now, I read somewhere where one of you wrote that it costs up to Sh200,000 per person for a return ticket to the US. Unfortunately, whoever wrote that article did not tell us the total cost if you must fly from Nairobi to New York, and then from New York to Washington.

But that is beside the point. Maybe the fellow has never been to the US. But let us assume that the gentleman was right, and that it costs Sh200,000 to fly to the US. Supposing the President’s entire entourage which, like I have indicated, included all the people who are key in securing important deals for our country, was, say, one hundred, what is 100 x 200,000?

Correct, that Sh20, 000,000. Those are two plus seven zeros. I am sure some of us are confused. And, remember, we have not counted the connecting flights between New York and Washington and the extra costs involved. That would raise the costs higher by another zero. Now if you add one more zero to 20,000,000 it becomes Sh200,000,000. Right?

Now, tell me my friends, how is it being extravagant when the President chooses to put the entire team in one plane, fly them to New York then to Washinton, make them sit and sign deals worth half a trillion shillings, and fly them back to Nairobi?

Ladies and gentlemen, I know you are tired with all this math but let us do one last test. What is 500,000,000,000 minus 200,000,000? Please do not try calculating this if you have a cheap phone like mine. It will probably explode.

Yes, is there anyone with a calculator that can fit all these zeros? Mine cannot! Yes? 499,800,000,000? Good.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, if someone spends Sh200 million and brings home Sh500 billion, surely, is that person good at mathematics and economics or not? Is that someone with the best interests of the country at heart or not? Is that being extravagant?

Ladies and gentlemen, do your math, and you will realise that the narrative that the President spent too much money to travel to the United States is being driven by certain characters who either failed mathematics in primary school or want to manufacture a story where there is none.

Surely? Now, good people, what is the big story about the President’s trip? I rest my case.

Exit Isaac.

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