Kenya has has always come under criticism for its malevolent celebrity culture that thrives on sex scandals, personal controversy, public shaming and ethnic name calling.
For a long time, social media bloggers have earned their bread from scandalizing public officials for online clout. This string of bad manners has unfortunately found its way to the mainstream media lately. Outlets that were once relied on for credible fact-checked information joining the rabid lynch-mob of scandal-hunting, sensational-reporting, gutter-press press.
The latent fear of being left behind on social media trending topics and online click bait has won eaten the soul of our once respected legacy media. Kenyans should collectively stop this sensational devil, before our mainstream media is left looking worse than the sewage section of the Dandora dumpsite on a wet rainy day.
No one in this country is interested in the truth anymore. The increasingly dynamic and fast changing media landscape has worried mainstream media gutless. Bloggers are having them for lunch with celebrity stories, downsizing notices are coming in thick and fast, advertisers are now choosing to market their businesses through bloggers running YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook channels.
The story of Babu Owino and DJ Evolve is one that we found necessary of further interrogation. The manner in which it has been prosecuted in the media reeks of malice aforethought and laden with sinister revenge.
The manner in which DJ Evolve was interviewed, the preset questions all pointed out to a mainstream media not interested in seeking the facts and truth, they set out to harass a convalescing weakling, lacking the means to stop the invasion of privacy, as his voice was frail.
We consider this consolidated affront against media ethics and professional code of conduct. Having known what we know now, we seek this opportunity to call our institutions in charge of training journalists to reconsider their outdated training manual in order save our journalists from embarrassing themselves in the process of stripping respondents of their personal dignity which is non-negotiable.
It has taken us long to get a family member of DJ Evolve to talk. Because no other media outlet has carried an interview of this sort, we consider this report unprecedented. It was not easy to get someone closer to DJ Evolve to get us the other side of the story, it’s been more than one month of consistent gentle approach that finally paid off.
When we reached out to him, he sounded perturbed by what he saw as his family “getting support from Babu, but still giving interviews to the media that contradict this position”. Except DJ Evolve’s father, our contact was adamant that all other family members have created what amounts to a blackmail network against the fiery MP.
We couldn’t have embarked on this quest for truth had we not stumbled on a comment attributed to a contact who was helping us get to DJ Evolve. It was purely by accident that we stumbled on the revelation down below.
“Ukitazama hiyo video ya shooting, utaona Babu hata haangalii DJ. Angetaka kumuua, si angeangalia kichwa ama kifua ndio apige risasi? Unajua huyo Mheshimiwa na DJ ni marafiki sana, na DJ anasema mpaka saa hii hiyo ilikuwa ajali, lakini hao watu wetu hawataki media iseme hivyo,” says our contact.
Kenyans had never known that prior to the incident, Babu Owino and DJ Evolve were good friends, the revelation came as a shocker to us too. It gave us renewed interest to pursue this case further setting us out to establish the real story behind the story, and our contact referred us to a close relative of the family, a lady well versed with the inner workings of the case. It was a little frustrating getting her to talk, because she wrongly assumed we were from a TV station, which she claimed had continued to misrepresent facts given to them.
After cancelling three times, she contacted us through our contact, out of the blues, and said she was willing to talk, but at a place of her choosing, which surprisingly turned out to be behind a Go Down on Enterprise Road, Nairobi. She was also clear she wouldn’t spend more than twenty minutes with us.
We asked how the DJ was doing.
“DJ ako better, improving by the day. Hata hiyo kuongea in whispers ni vile alifanyiwa tracheostomy to remove secretions from airwaves, lakini ikitolewa sauti yako itarudi tu”, she informed us in a shaky voice while scanning the area for signs of intruders, as if expecting a mafia-style swoop from somewhere.
We notice along the way that she is not wearing the huge face mask just as a Covid-19 safety measure, but also to hide her face. After a 22 minute chat, she makes her exit, leaving us wondering what more is unknown from this whole saga, so we set out to dig more.
Our team finally managed to crack the barriers and sought information from those involved in the negotiations and financial transactions with Hon Babu Owino. We established that Babu continues to submit monthly support to the family as hereunder;
1. Two nurses (one for day and one for night): DJ Evolve needs twenty four hour medical care and attention, and this cannot be done by any of his family members as they aren’t qualified medical personnel who can detect any slight variation in DJ Evolve’s medical regimen and offer first aid if necessary.
To facilitate this, Babu Owino has hired two nurses (one for day duties, and one for night duties) each paid Ksh3,500 per day, totaling Ksh210,000 per month.
2. A physiotherapist: a qualified medical expert who to treats body injury or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise. As he is bedridden and still cannot exercise his limbs, DJ Evolve needs the services of a physiotherapist to offer body and limb massage to relax his veins for effective blood circulation and hastening of the recovery process.
For this, Babu Owino has hired a physiotherapist for DJ Evolve at a cost of Ksh3,500 per day totaling to Ksh105,000 per month. He pays this from his own pocket, and has not complained.
3. One Occupational Therapist: Occupational therapy is a health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life.
Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement.
The occupational therapist hired for DJ Evolve is the one charged with aiding his recovery process by helping him with making sense of his new environment, discovering activities to keep him engaged, taking him through the activities, and getting him distracted from the recovery process for faster recovery and healing.
On this alone, Babu Owino has hired an expert physiotherapist earning Ksh3,500 per day, totaling Ksh105,000 per month.
4. Rent: Babu Owino moved DJ Evolve and his family to a spacious apartment with sufficient natural light and favorable ventilation as recommended the doctors at Nairobi Hospital as one of the conditions to aid his recovery process upon his discharge. Babu Owino pays a monthly rent of Ksh30,000 for the family.
5. Medicine, and other special prescriptions: DJ Evolve may have been discharged from hospital but he still needs medicine daily. The medicine is part of a long list of conditions given by the Nairobi Hospital doctors to be met before his discharge. Every week, Babu Owino pays Ksh20,000 towards the purchase of DJ Evolve’s essential drugs and other related medical equipment, totaling Ksh80,000 per month.
6. Food: It is common knowledge that DJ Evolve needs food while still on his recovery bed. And he is not alone in the house as he lives with his other family members and the other medical staff assigned to him. All of them need to eat so that they stay at home and attend to DJ Evolve without worrying about going out to look for income sources. Each month, Babu Owino sends Ksh20,000 meant to cater for food and other essential nutritional items for DJ Evolve and his family.
7. Miscellaneous amount for their emergency needs is also catered to, as per the family’s initial request. Babu sends them Ksh30,000 per month to keep the family comfortable so that they can focus all their energies in tending to DJ Evolve.
8. Monthly remittance to the Nairobi Hospital bill: It is important to note that at the time of his discharge, DJ Evolve’s medical bill had accumulated into tens of millions. It was an act of grace and empathy from the Nairobi Hospital management to allow DJ Evolve be discharged without the settling of the entire bill. This was only possible because Babu Owino had issued a promissory note committing to pay the outstanding arrears in installments. Babu Owino has never reneged on this promise since DJ Evolve was discharged, and he pays Nairobi Hospital Ksh500,000 every month towards the settling of DJ Evolve’s outstanding expenses he incurred while being hospitalized there.
In total, our source confirmed that Babu remits over Ksh1.05m per month towards the well-being of DJ Evolve, as enlisted up there.
We set out to get a comment from Hon Babu Owino, but a rather impatient handler or security aide, we weren’t sure, curtly replied that “Mhesh will not discuss matters already in court, and you media people are the ones fond of misrepresenting his position”.
Our attempts to clarify that we were not the said media people fell on deaf ears.
We shall get him too to talk. We must get him to talk, because we need his side of the truth too for us to triangulate all the news sources and come up with an independent fact of this DJ Evolve matter.
The mainstream media have stripped themselves naked of their cardinal duty to verify, fact-check, and confirm stories before running with them. They have joined bloggers in cheap gossip, ethnic innuendos and character assassination while still wanting to maintain the traditional prestige associated with legacy. They have thrown truth and facts out of the window, and they still wonder why their fortunes are dwindling and level of trust lost.
Since they have abdicated their paramount responsibility and have gone to bed with gutter press, we ask independent media operating in Kenya to do rise to the occasion and plug the gap left by those legacy media houses joining the gutter press.
We must seek to find where the truth hides and expose it in clear day, or we shall all be consumed by sensational reporting, and no one knows if the media industry in Kenya will be left with any pride worth of attention here and across our borders.
We shall do this, if and whenever necessary. Because Kenyans deserve a better media. They pay for it by renewing their monthly TV subscription, purveyors of dirty unrefined content must be kept awake or they shall run roughshod on all of us.
We shall endeavor to scratch the surface of trending news and bring them the other side that gutter media have chosen to ignore for reasons best known to themselves. We seek the truth, because it shall set everyone free.