The Nation Media Group (NMG) this week on Monday fired its Murang’a based correspondent Joseph Ndung’u Gachane after he allegedly failed to file an endorsement story for Interior CS Dr Fred Matiangi.
A fortnight ago, Dr Matiangi toured Murang’a county alongside CSs James Macharia (transport) and Peter Munya (Industrialisation) for a homecoming party. In specific, it is reported that Dr Matiangi received heap of praises from Borabu MP Ben Momanyi and Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka who hinted that the super CS could take over from President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
The CS is said to have been also endorsed by Jubilee politicians David Murathe and Peter Munga, who are close allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The praises came as an endorsement, and the editors at the twin-tower expected a report from the journalist, who failed to file the story. Also, it is said that the managing editor Mr Mutuma Mathiu and senior editor John Kamau accused the journalist of failing to send ‘nice’ photos of Dr Matiangi.
However, Speaking to Business Today, the journalist says he had been assigned another story to interview Peter Kenneth, hence he could not deliver the two stories on the same day.
“During the tour an editor called from Nairobi and assigned me to interview Peter Kenneth and get his views on BBI. I sent the story late around 7pm which was too late for me to file the Matiang’i endorsement story,” he told the publication.
Two weeks later, on March 9, the journalist received a letter from the company’s head of legal affairs S Owino informing him of the termination of contract.
“We refer to the agreement dated 1st January, 2020 between Nation Media Group PLC and yourself for the performance by you of certain tasks as described in the agreement. The Company has decided to terminate the Agreement,” read the letter, without giving reasons for the termination.
At first, it is alleged that the scribe had been compromised by Ruto-allied politicians to drop the story, but was forced to write after the editors pressurised him.
Sources privy to the events say that the editors received phone calls from the office of the CS, who in turn forced the journalist to write the story. It was published on the Sunday Nation.
The journalist also speaking to the publication acknowledged receiving calls from the office of the CS, asking why the story was not published on Saturday.
“Maybe they wanted it to come out as if Central Kenya had endorsed Matiangi, which wasn’t really true since Onyonka is the only one who endorsed him while other leaders just praised his track record. In any case, this is not the first time Onyonka is endorsing Matiang’i,” said the journo.