Oh, God! Police again.
What is the point of this story? That was the question that popped up in our minds on reading a report in The Standard on Friday, April 27, 2007, Page 3. It was titled, ‘Encounter with little ones turn tough APs to jelly’.
It was not the grammar of the headline that bothered us. We have pointed out a number of times the copyediting woes at The Standard. Of course the headline should have read: ‘Encounter with little ones turns…’
“What comes to mind when you talk about Administration Police (AP) officers? Despicable killings, suicides, corruption and impunity among other allegations,” the story began.
“Allegations”? No, those are not allegations. All Kenyans know about the chilling crimes committed by some of the APs, which taint the image of that force.
“The APs have now decided they don’t want people to conjure such deplorable images about them,” the story went on.
It should have been labelled ‘Advertiser’s Announcement’.
So, it is the people who have the problem of conjuring deplorable images of the APs? The APs are otherwise fine professionals, yeah?
“They want a new face. And they are going out to get it by shedding off their image.”
Interesting. It is, after all, only an image problem. Nothing serious. How are they going to do this?
“Through their ‘Dress a Girl’ initiative the officers are going out and meeting poor and needy girls in orphanages and children’s homes (what’s the difference?)…”
They offer the girls “toiletries, inner garments, sanitary pads, detergents and even counselling…”
The APs have definitely learnt this deception from Mzungu do-gooders. How does such self-serving philanthropy stop the “despicable killings, suicides, corruption and impunity” that taint the AP? How does it give the country better officers?
What the police or other public officers may do to make them feel better about themselves is entirely their own business. But they have a mandate from the Kenyan people. We pay them for services. The Standard understands this.
“Under the programme, more than 50 uniformed officers visit the children, spend time with them, identify their needs and meet them…”
Aarrgh! The whole idea of APs, or anyone else, exploiting the suffering of others, especially little girls, to improve their own public image is absolutely immoral and abhorrent!
“The officers believe this newfound effort will help endear them to the public whose trust they seek after years of mistrust and suspicion.”
This piece of cheap publicity does absolutely nothing to help the tattered image of the AP caused basically by lack of professionalism and inadequate state support.
On the other hand, The Standard is guilty of misleading the public by casting the stinking rot in the AP as merely an image problem.
APs must stop extra-judicial killings. They must stop taking bribes. They must stop torture. They must devote themselves entirely to protecting the lives and property of Kenyans who employ them. They must execute their mandate with professionalism.
That is what will improve their public image. Trying to exploit poor children so as to look good in the eyes of the people of Kenya is utterly despicable.
And The Standard should not allow itself to be used to promote such cynical deception of the Kenyan people.