Is Clay Muganda Kenyan Media’s Biggest Recycler and Plagiarist?

By Ronny

After reading Clay Muganda’s work I have come to the conclusion that the nation columnist is highly unoriginal and a plagiarist.

He recycles the same phrases regularly in his column.

For examples;

Clay Muganda repeats the Idiom  “ Throws toys out of pram” regularly. He used it twice in August (28th and 6th) this year.  It was recycled again in an article in the Saturday nation on November 26th 2011. Then on September 27th. Also on February 22nd 2011. Not forgetting on Friday may 21st 2009.

“Forge behind” or “Forging behind” is his next favourite phrase. I have noticed that he regularly recycles it. It was there on august 7th. June 19th.  January 10th. (thrice this year.) November 22 2011. Friday 26th 2008. 3 more times where the date was not visible according to nations search function.

He uses the phrase “ beer pressure” 4 times according to Nation’s website .

The phrase“ bend our elbows” to mean to get drunk or plastered is used 12 times according to the website.

The phrase drooling fingers is repackaged 3 times.

Post-Cartesian diktat is used severally. At least thrice.  In all three instances Post- Cartesian is used incorrectly mind you.

The phrase “I drink therefore I am” is used twice.

He always writes about alcoholism severally every year and always includes the phrase “I have been sober for so many years …which calls for a drink” a joke he recycled in yet again this August. It stops being funny after the first few times.  In fact alcohol is a theme he regularly returns to and he uses the same phrases, jokes and anecdotes and hopes that the public that buys the newspaper will not notice. Well I did.

He mentions the writer and his inspiration Jug Suraiya a whopping 11 times. He wrote a whole paragraph borrowed from the Indian writer once concerning driving in 26th of september 2008.  Nation should just cut out the middle man and syndicate the Jugular vein column that the writer loves so much.

He is happy to recycle the phrases he likes showing how that he rarely gets any new ideas. Earlier in the year US  Journalist Jonah Lehrer was forced to apologise after it was found out that he liked to recycle his old articles. Lehrer who was later fired for inventing quotes was accused of copied his own articles at least  22 times and he was sacked. Clay has done it many more times. It is a pattern. It’s his method. He isn’t unique and it is an unethical habit that deserves to be condemned.

Recycling is wrong since it stops the reader from getting new information which he has purchased by buying the newspaper. It is also inexcusable and shows how Nation editorial standards have deteriorated.  Next time he writes an article about drinking he should tell his audience that half his jokes are repeated from other previous articles. He is duplicating his own work and passing it off as new. Recycling is wrong since it does not add any new thoughts to the debate or conversation.

He seems unable to break new ground or talk of the same story differently.

As has been proven he reuses sentences, ideas and catch phrases with predictable regularity. Eg he always writes about drinking every August when he quit drinking. He even says so in his article.

I can only compare the incident to that of a drunk who repeats the same stories to his increasingly bored audience hoping they do not realize.

Clay has already been accused of plagiarism. Once in 2005 by @roomthinker for which Nation apologized for running his piece. Also by a local blogger Raymond also accused him of Xeroxing an article idea wholesale.

According to office gossip at Nation, the reason Clay Muganda’s column was moved from Friday to Tuesday in 2010  was because they found that he was running out of ideas a fatal thing on any writer. His column was almost dropped because his bosses at Nation felt that it could do with a break. Even the top management realized that  Muganda suffered from burnout and gave him a rest. His article was eventually returned after a lengthy hiatus to the DN2 section of the newspaper and moved to a less visible day Tuesday where he regularly tackles the same repetitive themes using the same phrases.

A writer must have new phrases and ways to say things instead of repeating the same. He recently criticized Entertainment writers for not checking their facts in august. Well at least entertainment writers are original and do not recycle their ideas. In September 12 2008 he wrote about how lazy other journalists are. Well I think it is time everyone knows how lazy he is.

In the column on September 2008 he says that so many Bad writers get published daily. Well he should include himself on that list.

It is sad that it has taken 8 years of columns for this fact to come out.

According to Michael Monynihan writing on plagiarism No one ever self plagiarises once. It is a compulsive habit.  It also shows how his editors have not been able to pick up the fact that he regularly repeats himself and is unoriginal.

The only big relief for all realists there is that Clay self-plagiarizes more than anyone.

DISCLAIMER: This is a guest post by a friend of the blog.


Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (


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  1. I like your distinction…recycling phrases and NOT articles. I see no wrong with Clay Muganda recycling phrases.
    The late Whispers used to recycle phrases that endeared him to all who read his articles. It’s a pity that you feel that way about such a prolific writer

  2. He recycles the same phrases regularly, he used it twice, it was recycled again, he regularly recycles it, he recycled, recycle their ideas, recycles, recycling is wrong, recycling is wrong…gosh…I can only hope you were cleverly and deliberately making a point.

    Also, please look up the word ‘severally’. It is a common Kenyan problem.

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