Famous Veteran Kenyan Journalist, ODM Communications Chief And Former United Nations Media Director Tells Friends That He Feared For His Life…
In the course of today (Monday Feb 18th 2008) some top ODM officials will get a little surprised when the party communications chief Salim Lone fails to return from what was supposed to be a brief trip to New York hurriedly taken last week.
The truth is that Salim Lone has been telling close friends abroad that he fled for his life from Kenya after threats from PNU. However a few things do not add up. Why keep everything secret from the ODM top brass? And if it is true that he was threatened, why has he still not gone public with the story that he has told many close friends?
Salime Lone: What scared him?
Actually Lone’s action has caused lots of anxiety amongst close analysts and observers of the Kenyan situation but before I tell you why, a brief introduction of Lone to those who may not know him is in order.
Salim Lone is a Kenyan by nationality, a veteran journalist, and former Director of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information, of the United Nations. He has also been a rather prolific columnist for the Daily Nation and also writes regularly for The Guardian in the UK.
Salim Lone was director of the news and media division (1998-2003) during his twenty one year career at United Nations headquarters. His last assignment was as spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq immediately after the US-led 2003 war and occupation.
Lone was the founding editor of the pioneer woman’s monthly in Kenya, Viva in the 70s and was in fact forced to flee the country during the early Moi years fearing arrest for some of his political pieces in Viva a magazine. That was what led to his arrival in New York and a 21 year career at the UN. Still he is no stranger to harassment from Kenyan security agents in those terrible years of limited press freedom where numerous activists disappeared and brave writers disappeared without trace.
So the truth is that Lone does not scare easily. That is why analysts are ev en more worried and are wondering what exactly caused the ODM communications director to suddenly hop onto a plane and flee.
Admittedly, it seems clear that Lone no longer felt safe in Kenya. But what is this threat which ODM and Raila Odinga could NOT adequately protect him from? And why keep his intentions secret by telling ODM colleagues that he was away briefly and would be back by Monday (today)?
Clearly Lone knows something that many of us do not know yet. One theory is that he was made aware that...