Pubdate: Mon, 03 Apr 2006
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2006 Nation Newspapers
Author: Ambrose Murunga, Perspective
Bookmark: (Cocaine)



One of my all-time favourite writers, H.G Wells, caused panic in New 
York in the late thirties when he went live on radio with his science 
fiction play.

Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise did a movie-rendition of it, in the 
War of the Worlds. It was about a Martian attack of planet Earth.

Wells' piece was quite convincing, with a radio commentator giving a 
running commentary on the landing of the aliens. He "followed" the 
Martians and reported their destructive progress into New York and its suburbs.

Residents listening in called their folks and friends to alert them 
of the invasion. Schools in the path of the Martians were quickly 
evacuated, and even units of the National Guard were called to duty.

By the time the "live commentator" had been swallowed "live" by the 
Martians, a number of people had died in stampedes, shops looted and 
cars burnt.

When Wells later apologised for the damage his creativity had caused, 
he could not resist adding: "But what's wrong with this country's 
(levels of) intelligence? Can't anyone take a joke?'

I remembered Wells last Saturday when I read reports on the 
destruction of the Sh6 billion cocaine exhibit. Wells did not do 
drugs. He did the bottle.

And he did not hide his penchant for it. Asked how he would want to 
die, he said: "Drown in a vat of alcohol. Oh, death, where art thy sting?"

Wells did not drink water. "That is the stuff that rusts pipes", he explained.

Wells wept in public when he saw booze confiscated during the 
Prohibition being poured down the drain. He felt personally violated.

There might not have been any public exhibition of angst at the 
destruction of cocaine last Friday, but I was disappointed that we 
had to await the arrival of some dudes from America and elsewhere to 
burn the stuff.

The Kenyan in me felt violated. This was our exhibit, recovered here, 
and the trial is taking place here. Why would we want to seek visual 
confirmation from abroad before destroying the drug?

The issue of taking samples abroad to establish the source of the 
cocaine is fine. But do we need an entire squad of foreigners to jet 
into the country to collect the samples?

I know there are integrity issues in the way we do our stuff of late, 
but I found the process of destroying the cocaine outright offensive 
and disrespectful.

Why couldn't we handle it in like manner to impounded game trophies 
or firearms? Just set the date and invite interested parties to 
witness the process. Why postpone the date when interested parties 
delay in coming? That was weak.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom