When journalist Michella Wrong accused the media in Kenya for having abdicated its mandate of protecting public good, she was in turn accused by a section of the media of advancing a mzungu agenda – neo-colonialism. Five months down the line, it is becoming manifestly evident that a number of journalists, especially at management level were induced to do a hatchet job for eventual winners of the discredited 2013 presidential election outcome.
First, who is behind the campaign to portray Raila Odinga as dying to have a government job? You only have to look at the compositions of the media houses to realize that there is something amiss with the treatment of information – called it news it qualifies to be. It is a crude attempt by Standard group’s editorial director Bernard Nderitu to advance the Jubilee agenda.
A quiet but determined campaign at the Standard Media Group, the paper that was until the takeover by Mt Kenya mafia was considered the last frontier for upholding public good, points to an alarming trend in which the all media houses must toe the Jubilee line. Individual journalists perceived to be independent-minded are also being lined to for sacking or forced to resign to create room for Nyumba ya Mumbi. The latest victims of the Kikuyu agenda are Kipkoech Tanui and Oketch Kendo who have been under pressure to resign for openly stating that Jubilee rigged presidential election. The beneficiary is 69-year old Mbatau wa Ngai, whom was sacked by Nation Media Group for non-productivity. On his way out of Kimathi Street Mbatau ‘cursed’ the twin towers and prophesied that the twin-towers would come tumbling down after his exit!
At risk are journalist to be anti-establishment who are neither being sacked demoted or denied promotion on flimsy grounds. There is no denying that Standard is run from State House, with Deputy resident William Ruto deciding who occupies which position. And unbeknown to Ruto, Mt Kenya mafia is taking advantage of his long running battles former president Moi for control of Rift Valley to entrench Kikuyu interests.
Since chief executive took over from ‘Mr Presender’ Paul Melly, nearly all senior management positions are occupied by Kikuyus. Look at this: executive editor – Bernard Nderitu (Kikuyu), chief Editor John Bundotich(Kalenjin), ME daily Julius Maina (Kikuyu) ME Sunday Woka Nyagwoka (Kisii, married to a Kikuyu), ME Saturday, eligible bachelor Fred Mbugua (Kikuyu), ME Country Weekly Kipkoech Tanui (Kalenjin), Political/News Editor Alex Ndegwa (Kikuyu), Chief Sub Daily E. Ndegwa (Kikuyu), Chief sub Weekend Linet Atieno (Luo), Features Editor, the lazy Patrick Mathangani (Kikuyu), Agenda 2013 pullout editor Cyrus Kinyungu (Kikuyu) and Corporate Affairs manager Ann Wangechi (Kikuyu).
Virtually all senior editorial positions are held by one community. Does it now make sense that when Standard/KTN flushed presidential poll results that showed Raila ahead of Uhuru by more than half-a- million votes it had to quickly recall them are and issue a clarification. The election centre that was headed by journalist Paul Wafula (Luhyia) was completely gagged!
The Kikuyunisation of the Standard does not end there. HR Director Pauline Kiraithe (Meru) marketing manager print Neema Wamae (Kikuyu), marketing manager KTN/Radio Maisha), Ms,,,Wangare ( Kikuyu). In the pipeline is Kikuyu who will replace hardworking Moses Ocholla who was forced to quit in mysterious circumstances. Kiraithe has also ensured that Kikuyus head marketing divisions in all the bureaus around the country. The sacking of Kalenjins in Eldoret office ensured this ethnic uniformity.
The ejection of non-Kikuyus began with the exit of former HR manager Ronald Kimaiyo, who left the Mombasa road- based media house last month. Also going is former KTN boss Katua Nzile and former Sunday Standard ME Mwenda Njoka. At least more than 20 journalists have resigned from Standard over the last five months to protest deliberate attempts to force on them an editorial policy embrace the Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto government.
The impact of the changes will be felt in the next three months. Already returns from western region where the paper enjoyed an unrivaled market over Nation are reflecting a diminishing market. Central Kenya has never been keen on buying or advertising in the Standard. The beneficiary without doubt will be the Star, which despite its lean content is increasingly becoming popular in Western Kenya as it occupies the void left by the Standard.
Robert Alai is a respected Kenyan blogger, technical evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle or Facebook page. he is the founder of KahawaTungu.