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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nation Media Group in Post-Election Genocide Conspiracy With The Police!

Insider Speaks Out

The tragic tribal divisions that have almost driven the country on its knees have not spared the largest media house in East and Central Africa region – the Nation Media Group.

The loyalty of journalists and editors in NMG’s editorial department is sharply torn between bitter protagonists PNU and ODM camps putting into sharp focus the credibility and the accuracy of the news being fed to the public by the once-independent and reputable media house.

In principle, journalists all over the world are supposed to be professional, neutral and independent in their reporting, thinking and public conduct. Sadly, this is no longer the case in the Kikuyu-dominated and controlled Nation Media Group. The once-respected media house is fast evolving into another KBC.

As an insider, I can tell you that NMG has been rocked by deep tribal divisions in the run-up to last year’s General Election and the tribal tensions have reached fever pitch high in the on-going post-election violence that threaten to drive Kenya on the brink of a civil war.

Although NMG has been under the firm control of Kikuyus – looking at the appointments and promotions across all the ranks – tribal resentment was mute during the long tenure of Wilfred Kiboro. Things have taken a dangerous turn since Linus Gitahi replaced Kiboro.

The pro-Kibaki coverage of news by all the media outlets owned by NMG have been subject of public heated debate at homes, bars, offices and in matatus. It has been argued that NMG had lost its independence and credibility in the coverage of political events and other issues of great public concern. Nothing can be further from the truth.

I’ll attempt to give an insider’s view of what has been happening at the heart of our newsroom.

First, the independence of the Editorial Department has been greatly eroded since Gitahi took over from Kiboro. Gitahi, being from President Kibaki’s Nyeri District, set a very bad precedent by turning up in editorial meetings and placing calls to senior Editors with an intention of manipulating and dictating the content of news that was to be fed to the public.

For the sake of those who don’t know, Gitahi has never stepped inside a journalism classroom, therefore being less qualified to lecture trained and professional journalists on what they should write. He went up the corporate ladder at SmithKline Beecham previously GlaxoSmithKline.

Gitahi has never hidden his deliberate and systematic intentions to ensure only news content that was music to President Kibaki’s inner circles was churned out by NMG products since he arrived in Nation Centre slightly over a year ago.

In the run up to the Dec 27 General Election, Gitahi often banged tabled in editorial meetings when professional and seasoned editors differed with him or defied him on the coverage of political events. He often turned up in the meetings to ensure President Kibaki got better coverage over his rivals Raila Odinga of ODM and Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-K.

Another wing headed by the Group Managing Editor, Mr Joseph Odindo, openly showed their loyalty was with Mr Odinga. Mr Odindo, who has a big title which lacks any portfolio (in fact, he was given the post when the Standard wanted to poach him and offer him the post of Editorial Director some three years ago), always hovered in the newsroom changing stories to ensure they favoured Odinga.

Most of the Luo editors and journalists and a few other colleagues from other tribes were fully behind him. Some of them are Jaidi Kisero (Managing Editor, The EastAfrican), Macharia Gaitho (Managing Editor, Investigations and Special Projects. Just like Odindo, his post has no portfolio but he owes it for being Odindo’s foot soldier), Lucy Oriang’ (Managing Editor formerly in charge of Magazines), Emman Omari (Political Editor), Owino Opondo (Parliamentary Editor), Odhiambo Orlale (journalist), etc.

However, Gitahi’s camp carried the day in pushing its agenda for President Kibaki. NMG’s Editorial Department, and most other departments within the group, suffers from imbalance in key appointments. Key posts within the Editorial Department are headed by the Gema.

Look at this: Editorial Director - Wangethi Mwangi (Murang'a), Managing Editor (Daily Nation) - Bernard Nderitu ( Kiambu), Managing Editor, (Sunday Nation) - Mutuma Mathiu (Meru), Managing Editor (Business Daily) - Nick Wachira (Nyeri), Managing Editor (Daily Metro) - Julius Maina (Central province) and Managing Editor (Taifa) - Wainaina Kiganya (Kangemi). NMG's only publication not headed by GEMA is The EastAfrican. With a strong tribal army like this behind him, Gitahi’s wishes flooded NMG publications.

Journalists from the minor tribes, who are also a minority in the newsroom and where I belong, have no say and we only just watch helplessly as the two camps try manipulate news to suit the ears of their preferred political godfathers.

The consequences are clear – the Circulation Department has been reporting a marked drastic drop in sales of newspapers. Daily Nation’s rival, the Standard, has taken advantage in the tribal infighting within NMG and gained a big market share in Nairobi, Rift Valley, Coast, Nyanza and Western provinces. Readers predominantly ODM regions prefer buying the Standard rather than the Daily Nation.

The worst manipulation of news by the Gitahi-Wangethi axis has taken a dangerous precedent in the post-election period. Gitahi and Wangethi have taken it upon themselves to go through stories before they are published to ensure President Kibaki’s interests were taken care off. We have seen a deliberate and shameless campaign to misinform the public by doctoring the real truth on the ground or the number of ODM supporters and other innocent people shot dead by the police.

The news gathered by reporters on the group is doctored with the direct instructions of Gitahi and Wangethi to cover up the truth. There’s already an unofficial policy that the figures of the dead published by NMG must be those from the deceitful Kenya Police!

Even in cases where our colleagues were in the field and witnessed first-hand police shooting people and did their own tally, such news can’t be published in NMG until the police gave their own doctored figures. For instance, there a day Daily Nation and NTV journalists counted 14 bodies of victims shot dead by police in Kibera. Wangethi insisted that journalists had to call the police spokesman. Know what? The spokesman gave a figure of ONE person being killed and that is the story Daily Nation published!

There has been talk in the newsroom that Gitahi has been holding frequent meetings and is in constant telephone communication with Police Commissioner, Maj Gen Hussein Ali, and Kibaki’s ruling elite to help them play down the insecurity situation in the country. We understand all the other media houses have been co-opted into this scheme.

Significantly, Gitahi has been prevailed upon to ensure NMG outlets carried few figures, or nothing at all, of the ODM supporters being executed by the police to ensure the other tribes don’t rise up against the illegitimate Kibaki regime and his Kikuyu tribe. It’s feared the rest of Kenya would rise up against the Government if the real death toll – which reliable police sources now estimate to be above 2,500 – was made public.

On the other hand, Odindo and his camp have been rejoicing every time non-Kalenjins, especially the Kikuyus, are reported butchered in parts of the Rift Valley province by ODM supporters. Odindo and his Co. have taken it to be their responsibility that news that paint ODM negatively in the ethnic cleansing was muzzled or killed. Odindo and his camp could not hide their disgust when Kibaki was declared winner on Dec 30 through a stolen election.

In fact, a few journalists from the Kikuyu community have been accusing Odhiambo Orlale of acting like the spy boy for Odinga and ODM. They accuse him of reporting Editorial’s in-house matters directly to ODM. The Kikuyus openly complain that Orlale’s action posed a serious threat to their lives in case the rowdy ODM hooligans decide to strike.

This problem is not confined to NMG only. Odinga has recruited spies in all the newsrooms and he gets a first-hand account of what goes on there.

The sad state of affairs in NMG came just months after it suffered a serious moral credibility after some of our colleagues exposed shocking sex scandals involving Gitahi, Wangethi, Odindo and other top managers.

The fall out in the top NMG ranks over the sex sleaze leakage has been severe and some of the key figures linked to the scandal have left NMG in mysterious circumstances. But Gitahi, Wangethi and Odindo are still hanging on and the reputation damage they have done to this company will take years to recover.

The wounds inflicted by the sex leak are far from over from healing. However, journalists behind the sex leak made a major achievement since the management was forced to improve better terms for journalists – especially the correspondents who had been turned into modern slaves by NMG despite making huge profits.

All news correspondents in Nairobi were given a minimum monthly retainer of Sh17,000 while their colleagues in the bureaus got Sh12,000 plus a medical cover. The rate for paying stories published by the correspondents was also improved. A number of long-serving and qualified correspondents were given permanent jobs.

Previously, most correspondents didn’t have a retained and they only relied on the poor rate that was paid for every story published. A majority of them earned an average of Sh5,000 every month.

The on-going tribal animosity in our newsroom is sickening and it’s time to lift the lid and let the entire world know the lack of impartiality in news coverage. Should Kenyans and the world continue relying on distorted news being churned out by Nation Media Group?


Taabu said...

No surprises Chris. It is the beginning of the end and payback time too. All that has been simmering under the cover must erupt. DN have abused the confidence of readers and like Equity they are only headed one way - DOWN.

The present turmoil is equivalent to labour pain - PAINFUL yet expectantly sweet. Ig will spawn a new dawn and era of equity. What we enjoy and all the nostalgia is built on deception and dishonesty. Truth and justice will definitely set us free.

DN is busy destroying what took decades to built. But it is business and only those still enslaved to past glory read it. The reader (advertizer) calls the tune because he pays the piper.

Time of reckoning is here and the Kibaki opened the PANDORA box -let the demons fly and all the worms crawl out of the wood work.
Only people

Anonymous said...

Chris you asked what is the real cost of stealing an election? i present to you-HIDDEN COSTS hidden no more now revealed with hefty price tags that cannot be paid except it seems with the price of blood

Anonymous said...

And what about Standard, do you know that one of the key owners is zachariah cheruiyot? ODM? It isnt suprising that kikuyu's have then taken chief posts in NMG

Mdawida said...

Chris, you should dig deeper. what about the recent promotions at nmg. If am not wrong all six went to kikuyus!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,
DN is full of Kikuyus and should therefore have no opinion, no editorial policy and all those editors and journalists should toe the ODM line since as Kikuyus' they are not entitled to any opinion. Which Kenya do you really live in? Have you ever heard of a newspaper called East African Standard? The EA Standard is a poster boy of what irresponsible, biased and shameless editorial policy should wonder it hardly makes any profits and was classified as a junk stock for years. It only started making profits due to the enabling environment afforded by the Kibaki leadership though this is besides the point. I can assure you that the demise of the DN will come long after that of EA Standard (mark my words).It (EAS)is just a step above gutter press (and this is an understatement).
As for Kumekucha, (nyani haoni kudule) calling you part of Kenyas' blog gutter would be giving you respect you do not deserve.
Iam George Wahome, a kikuyu who contrary to your opinion, deseves an opinion.

Anonymous said...

I stopped buying nation.

If i wanted to hear gvt properganda,Karua and Mutua are all over as a 24hr kasukus telling us lies and nonsense

Anonymous said...

I want a neutral opinion. I'll never buy Daily Nation again.

Anonymous said...

In Rachuonyo District Government operations are grounded. The violence saw GK vehicles burnt and civil servants from a certain community ejected.

Protesters set ablaze 18 Government vehicles immediately the discredited presidential results were announced, and the swearing-in of Kibaki made it worse because all the other tribes had made arrangements in advance to escort the ODM leaders Raila, Ruto, Mudavadi, Balala, Ngilu, Kosgey and other cronies to State house and eject Kibaki and Lucy overnight. That`s why they are so so bitter.

Rachuonyo District Works, National Cereals Board, Kendu Bay Post Office, and District Fisheries offices were burnt down.

An acute shortage of drugs and other medical supplies have hit local hospitals, as residents confront the aftermath of the politically triggered violence.

In Rift Valley, civil servants from a certain community fled. In Eldama Ravine, professionals from one community were ejected and locals have taken over.

"We assist to ensure that life goes on uninterrupted," says Mr Peter Kipng’eno, one of the locals.

Because numerous roadblocks have broken the food exchange chain, the cost of putting a meal on the table has it soared.

In Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces, there is no telling when schools would reopen. There is fear and anxiety that no parent can risk sending their children to schools.

Public transport system is chaotic and unpredictable. In all these areas, there is fuel shortage. In Kisumu, pump stations were burnt down by Luos because they are operated by non- Luos in most part.

Government hospitals and health centres have crippling staff shortages.

Law courts are operating at half their capacities because of the unprecedented chaos.

A similar state obtains at the Coast, which has had its share of violence, looting and arson.

In Central Province, amid the relative calm, the challenge is accommodating relatives after being displaced from the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza and Coast provinces.

i think the poor will become more poorer and the rich more richer.

Anonymous said...

Burning Kenya to the ground is the only option. The cost of stealing an election is making sure kenya goes Rwanda style period...!

There will be new generation that will emerge in Kenya that does not know tribalism.

Mzalendo said...

Journalists are the scum of the society.People are trying to preach peace while journalists are busy spreading cheap tribal and divisive propaganda.
Most foreigners will confess that the East African standard is the most biased newspaper of the Kenyan tabloids.
I stopped reading sub-standard newpapers because everyone knows the standard is unshamely skewed onto ODM's favour.

Makena said...

More kikuyu phobia.
Not surprised. Why dont you question standard's editorial stance?

Anonymous said...

People seem to forget what was happening at NMG at the begining of 2007?? The NMG Saga remember??? People were bound to leave or be made to leave besides NMG isnt even state owned..stop crying wolf as usual!

Anonymous said...

Anon @12.35, You allege that your name is George Wahome and I quote "Iam George Wahome, a kikuyu who contrary to your opinion, deseves an opinion". I have a problem with this qoute. I have not know of a nation called Kikuyu. I have been writing about this notion and habbit of people with tribal tendencies who regard themselves as Kikuyus or Luos first and Kenyans for convenience. This is one of the problems we have in Kenya. You assertion that you are a kikuyu may be right but as a nation being kikuyu, Luhyia, Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana, Mjikenda, Kamba, samburu etc are just petals in the bigger multi coloured flower called Kenya. One does not dicide which tribe or colour to be born. It is an accident that i was born a Kikuyu and in Molo. I regard myself a Kenya first and foremost and a Kikuyu by chance. If you regard yourself a kikuyu first then a Kenyan for convenience then you do NOT deserve to be a Kenyan. You are part of the problem in Kenya and NOT part of the solution.
You assertion that you are a kikuyu first reminds me of British dominance and arrogance. Where they went they named the places after their native counties or towns. For instance New York after Yorhshire in the North of England, Newark, MAnchester Al, Liverpool, New England just to mention a few.
Kikuyus have this neocolonial tendency. Wherever they settle in they name the area after their native place for instance the burnt church in Burnt forest was called Kiambaa in Burnt forest, Nyakinywa farm in Kolongolo Kwanza Kitale, Gitwamba farm and Market in Mount Elgon District just to mention a few. This means that members of the Kikuyu tribe do NOT want to be part of the areas they are settled. They are telling their new neigbours that they (kikuyus) are different from the neighbours. We are better than you. We can name our farms differently. We are superior to you. This is the arrogance that has led to the problems in Kenya.
Wahome take not.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, I see your point. I know two wrongs do not make a right but look at the history of this blog since Kibaki was declared "duly elected"...I do not intend to flame another fire here since we have enough to put out. If you are for PNU, the implication is that you are a Kikuyu or you do not deserve an opinion....I am neither for ODM nor for PNU but for KENYA. This blog (save for Mashada) has more than any other been responsible for fanning ethinic animosity and I was perhaps the first to tell Chris that if Kenya sinks, we all sink. My apologies for an emotional statement. We all have something to learn from each other and tolerance is what we need at this stage in our national affairs. Be that as it may, I urge Chris for the upteenth time to work for peace and tolerance and use his unique position to be part of the solution.
Chris, will you stand up and be counted?
George Wahome.

Honestly Speaking said...

I think the Daily Nation carries significant amount of content that does not favour the Kibaki government. But it also carries a great deal of content that does not favour Raila. I find its content to be very balanced. the East Africa Standard on the other hand, is very skewed towards the opposition. Very unapologetically so. So I can see how people in ODM strongholds would prefer its content to that of the Daily Nation.

However, I'm in a position to know about circulation and I dispute what you say about overall circulation figures. You only need to put a copy of the EAS and the DN side by side and measure the advert space in eachto see who's winning the advert war. And advertisers are moved solely by statistics.

By the end of last year, NMG's NTV station had handily overtaken the much older KTN owned by East African standard as the most popular station as well. I didn't see that coming, because I myself had been stuck to KTN except for news, but apparently, more people watch the Nation TV news than the KTN news.

So, as far as what's going on on the ground is concerned, Nation Media Group and Equity are still on very solid ground because they provide services that Kenyans are willing to pay for.

Anonymous said...

You are Kidding yourself if you think that the DN and NTV are still leading. NTV has actually never led, KTN leads in programming business news and any other news- that's for sure having watched both.
As far as the dailies are concerned- Yes the advertisers have stuck to the DN but the readers moved on the EA Std.
If you need propaganda why listen to govt bullshit when you have KBC willing to churn this out.
Remember the DN is the paper that spread rumours about Raila denying an MOU with muslims.
When I saw the small hidden apology as opposed to the huge mess they made- for me this was the beginning of the turning point.
Now I find it hard to read a DN newspaper even the Saturday magazine I liked- I cannot just look at it the same anymore and same applies to many others.

They say Kidogo kidogo ujaza kibaba. DN has not just lost afew faithful customers but quite a chunk.

Anonymous said...

Honestly speaking are you honestly speaking? NTV Compared to KTN....nuh i dont think you are honestly speaking

Atis Nyakenya said...

Ha ha haaaa! Continue kidding yourself. As one has rightly said, advertisers are still lagging behind in Nation but the readers moved on to Standard Kitaaaaambooo!

Standard and KTN, we have only one favour to ask. We have stopped buying or consuming your competition. So you are dutybound to ensure we dont miss anything. If they have something in there that you dont have, ensure that we get it in your products somehow. As for advertisers, dont worry, they will soon find out where we are and follow us. Msijalishwe na ma-haters.

On a similar note, it appears the middle class mass action is indeed very effective! Just ask your local kiosk today about the sales of Brookside. You will be shocked at his story. Haya, Wacha hiyo: I went to burn my sim card today at Celtel The People's Choice so that I can get a new one from them and join The People's Network. I found queues of people excited to high heaven waiting patiently in turn! It was almost like elections. There is a sense of elation just thinking that you are getting your own back at Kimunya and his 'Fish Markets' and 'strong economy'! I must say the pride was unparallelled in the faces of all as they paraded their new sim cards and with a flourish expunged the green from their lives forever! The staff behind the counters cant seem to hide their excitement either.I guess they have already started calculating the bonus ha ha haaa! They honestly admitted that the queues have been overwhelming for two weeks now and it doesnt seem like its letting up! But they are happy to serve The People!

Folks, dont worry, let them ODMORON us for all we care...we are winning and soon
The People's President will be vindicated and INSTALLED!

As for Nation, someone said they were recently advertising themselves in a vernacular radio station! Curiouser and Curiouser, said Alice In Wonderland. Well, I dont know about that. But for sure, I have personally seen URGENT wall posters litering perimeter walls of Nyayo Stadium and Kenyatta Avenue. Ok. We dont work in circulation lakini Eii!Doesnt this just scream DESPERATION????

Stay the Course ODM, faint heart never won fair lady and she is about to give in. Yipppeeeee!

Anonymous said...

yes Chris,
I heard you and believe you me I congratulate you for giving us your opinion. Its up to us the readers to make the best out out of your stuff. This is why I have no kind words for some of the writers like George Wahome. What does it benefit you to brag around and be so arrogant for being a Kikuyu? Or the other writers who've run in defence of ODM or PNU? If you guys have the slightest sense of humanity then you should care to shut up forever. Well, I understand you because afterall you are writting this right in the cormfort of your offices or may be manssionnetes but for ones stop and think about the innocent people dying. The small chilldren whose parents have been killed and the women who've been raped? I dont mean to cast a spell on you, but may be if you had a taste of the consequenses of careless remarks like yours bring, you will learn to weigh your words. Whether you are a kikuyu or what tribe, you arent immortal and God is watching and listening. Take care of your tongue and hand. Do not utter or write things that will make people hate and kill each other because then you are equally guilty of murder just like the one who literally kills. By the way guys, did any of you do anything to be born where you were born, this is just by Gord's grace, and only him knows why you are kikuyu, luo,luyha etc and you should stop frustrating this grace for God's vengance is terrible. What will you ordinary Kikuyus benefit if Kibaki stays up there unless you are one of his right hand men? Does he even know that you had a farm in burnt forest and now you children are dead and you have nowhere to go? And you Luo, will Raila feed your children or pay their school fees when that trigger happy policeman blows off your head? I urge you all, to stop and think. Ask yourself if you stand to benefit from a failed Kenya or a peaceful and prosperous Kenya. Lastly, do you know that Raila's son is married to a kikuyu? and that Kibaki's son is married to an asian? Why havent they killed them if they hate them that much. Or arent Kikuyu landlords shasing away tenants of somali origin because apparently they look like Balala who is ODM?

Anonymous said...

Well you can say whatever you want to say about NTV and DN.. but i made a switch long ago and am not changing my mind anytime soon. NTV rocks and DN is my paper.KUDOS NMG!!!!

Anonymous said...

men kudos you guys can win a grammy when it comes t rumor mongering... but other wise grow a brain

Anonymous said...

Gosh! you people are really idle. I wish you would get something better to do with your lives! We in upper-class are really entertained by your nonsense from the comfort of our homes (Real TV made in Kenya). When will you people realise that it is only the poor who are fighting each other while us guys are still having our fun regardless of our ethnic background. Anyway I have 24 hours security and my visa ready just incase you decide to continue to torching this country. Wajinga ndio waliwao

Anonymous said...

i can not honestly argue with the author of thee above article because he is doing so as an insider, myself being an outsider. but i wil say this; that the nation newspaper and NTV to me seem more neutral as compared to the easT african standard and KTN.KTN even changed their background colour in some of the newscastings, from blue to orange.this speaks volumes! i personally stopped buying the standard, and watch KTN only when NTV news clips get stuck, which i can say is has been happening frquently of late. honestly the standard BY FAR bias towards ODM than NTV ever will be towards PNU

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