Journalists, media professionals and some government communication practitioners from the Kalenjin community met early this week at a Nairobi hotel to chart way forward on how to counter political attacks directed towards Deputy President William Ruto’s.
Among the senior journos present in the meeting included the newly appointed Fanaka TV CEO Terryanne Chebet, the chairman of Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Associations (KPJA) Gideon Keter who works with the Star, Dennis Chebitwey, a director of public communications in the Ministry of ICT and Sam Kiplagat from Nation.
Kaplich Barsito, a former head of the Vice President’s Press Service during the tenure of Kalonzo Musyoka is said to have also been present in the meeting where close to forty members of the fourth estate attended. Barsito now works as a public relations officer in the Ministry of Labour.
Reports about the meeting were first reported by Business Today, who later pulled down the story a day after publishing, seemingly the first step towards protecting the Deputy President.
In the article published by Business Today and and picked by several blogs, the chairperson of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) James Ngomeli was also present, but a senior journalist who attended the meeting said Ngomeli “was talking about reporting on Energy and how to grow as an industry specific journalist.”
Journalists who attended the meeting however refuted claims that DP Ruto was part of the agenda. Recently, calls for lifestyle audit by the president have seemingly rubbed the DP wing the wrong way.
Lucianne Limo posted pictures of the meeting on her Facebook page. She explained, “My senior Kaplich gave a talk to mentor young Kalenjin journalists, giving them his life history as a cub reporter to where he is now (sic). He recalled his days as a scribe when he was among the few Kale journos. He said he was happy to see many of his tribesmen embracing the trade and urged some of us veterans to mentor the young ones. That was the gist of the meeting. Anything else is pure malice!”
In a sarcastic post, Media Council of Kenya’s (MCK) website congratulated the journos for holding a tribal meeting.
“Excellent. And congratulations on arranging the get-together. Kalenjin scribes have set the pace. To be sure, Kenya needs many more similar gatherings of tribal herds. Meetings of Pokot vets. Kisii procurement experts. Kamba gynecologists. Kikuyu footballers. Luo surveyors. Turkana engineers. Maasai policemen. Meru priests. Luhyia chefs. Kuria seismologists. Giriama lawyers. Mijikenda nuns. Ogiek professors,” commented Media Observer, MCK’s website.
Jubilee party has been showing signs of cracks despite denial by top officials. Last month, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said that they were looking for a new political vehicle for the DP for the purposes of 2022 polls.
“As friends of William Ruto, we are contemplating the formation of our own party. We are thinking of leaving Jubilee Party to Uhuru and his people. We cannot work with saboteurs, we cannot work with those who think they can block DP’s 2022 bid. We can’t work with our enemies,” said Cherargei.
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