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Uhuru’s condolence letter – a PR stunt gone wrong?

I have read over and over through the standard letter and I fail to see anything sympathetic about it.
I have read over and over through the standard letter and I fail to see anything sympathetic about it. PHOTO: PSCU

I have read Uhuru’s personal letter of condolence and sympathy over and over again and I am left wondering how a man with the best of this country’s PR agencies at beck and call could get it so wrong!

I have read over and over through the standard letter and I fail to see anything sympathetic about it.

Allow me to show you what I’m talking about as we go through the letter paragraph by paragraph….

In his first paragraph Uhuru says he “writes with great pain and sadness hoping to share a few words of comfort and sympathy” over the untimely and violent death of the 148 victims of the Garissa terror attack.

As I read through the rest of the letter though, I neither see anything comforting nor sympathetic. All I see Is a leader trying to justify to grieving parents and relatives why their children and loved ones were left to die in the hands of terrorist.

I see someone telling loved ones that their relative was a collateral damage in a bigger war – the war against terror and radicalization.

“Annah was a young, productive person with great promise.” – Everything that was supposed to be personal ended here. This letter was the same for Miriam, Jane, Linda, Angela and every other woman who died in the Garissa attack. Same letter, same message just names changed…tell me what’s personal about that?

“My government has done a lot to contain terrorism. We are doing so much more even as I write this.” – Why don’t I find that comforting? You are telling a parent who has lost a child that your government has done a lot to contain terrorism, how come their child died of terror? You are telling them this when the media is a wash with information that this same government had prior information of a pending terror attack.

You are saying that to a parent who lost a child because the security officers who contained the situation arrived 8 hours after the attack had started. That would be very comforting to a parent who heard the guns take away his daughter’s life while she was on phone with him? Very sympathetic and comforting indeed.

“Unfortunately terrorists are using our own people to perpetrate their evil.” – What does that have to do with a grieving parent? You swore to protect the lives of citizens from external and internal aggressors, how come you could not protect them from this one?

“Many lethal killers are typical members of our communities who share our schools, homes, hospitals, villages and neighborhoods.” – So it was somehow his son or daughter who died’s fault that he could not identify the enemy within….hmmm, quite comforting.

“Please know that this tragedy has nothing to do with you, or any act or failing on your part or on the part of your departed child.” …You actually made a parent feel that their kid was responsible for their own death by not identifying the enemy within.

“Understanding it is nearly impossible because we have to confront the unacceptable fact that there are people among us who are deeply devoted to causing pain, death and destruction of others and themselves. That is too much to comprehend.” ….Yes Mr. President that is indeed incomprehensible…I can’t clearly comprehend what you were trying to achieve with this.

“The whole nation stands with you at this difficult and painful time. We pray for you every day that the Almighty God may give you comfort, and help us all find the answers to this tragedy.”….I agree that the whole nation stood with the families of the victims, but where were you? How come we did not see you at the mortuary? You did not attend the Uhuru Park vigil which in fact was happening just a stone throw away from your house. Was it because they were not important people, because if it was an MP you would have visited their home? That was a sure way of standing with someone at their hour of need.

“My government will provide all the support you will need to come to terms and eventually try to move past this bitter cup.”…..we could have done better with support that saved the lives of this young men. Ksh. 100,000 isn’t much support either, funerals are very expensive.

“My government assures you of justice for this brutality. We pledge to work harder for a better and more just country in honor of the memory of those we have lost.”….That word justice, I don’t know about you but what sort of justice would we want, can we bring them back to life?

“I write to you in humility to express my regret at the loss of your dearly beloved child. We share your pain.”…Share your pain, how do you know their pain. How much of it do you share? Do you know what it mean or feels like to lose a child – no I am not judging you but even if you’ve lost a child every situation is different. Even the parents who lost kids in this tragedy they do not go through the same kind of pain, so how dare you say you share their pain?

And he concludes: “I promise that as a nation, we shall never forget her, nor forgive those who took her life.”….I hope that this promise means that no more life will be lost to terror within our borders, that is a promise we would love to hold you to.

If this letter was sincere though, why make such a huge PR stunt out of it? why was it not confidentially sent to the families?

 Follow @IamOminde on Twitter

This article was also submitted for publication on the Urban Radio website.


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