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Monday, June 02, 2008

Is Kenya Becoming Deadly Territory For Journalists?

Who murdered foreign journalist Trent Keegan in Nairobi?

For a long time now keen observers of the Kenyan press have been asking the rather nagging question of whatever happened to our once free and vibrant press?

Why is it that too many stories that should receive prominence are quietly being swept under the carpet? Is the press under threat and if so by whom?


Also published recently: President's and PM's security details clash


Interestingly many practicing journalists in Kenya will also tell you fascinating tales about stories they wrote that never saw the light of day for one puzzling reason or another. One journalist I know lost his job because he refused to compromise on his journalistic ethics since his superiors wanted a prominent news source to approve all articles he did for a leading daily in Kenya. Those articles touched on security issues.

Sadly many people ignore a very simple fact that should be a telling pointer to anybody who seeks answers. That fact is that the Kibaki administration has brought numerous bills to parliament seeking to control the press in one way or another. In fact the Kibaki government 2002 to 2007 crafted more press bills than all the other previous administrations put together. Amazingly you can even take the total number of bills crafted before the said Kibaki administration and multiply that figure threefold and you will still be short of the number of press bills Kenya saw under Kibaki. Phew!!!

And to further deal with this “annoying animal” called the press, historians will one day note that it was under Kibaki that the government created for the first time in history, the post of government spokesman I Kenya and filled it with a man whom I will not say much about. But Dr Alfred Mutua, many agree, is a disgrace to the dignified and respected Public Relations profession.

But even more disturbing is that there is now emerging signs that Kenya may in fact be a very dangerous place to practice journalism in. Local newspapers have been fairly quiet about the murder of a Reuters journalist in Nairobi last week, when in fact this should have been the sort of news to have created screaming headlines.

Last Tuesday night (27th May) friends of Trent Keegan parted with him at a popular bar in Nairobi and the last they heard of him, was as he was complaining loudly to a taxi driver that the fare into the city centre was too steep. Days later his dead body was retrieved from a trench with his wallet still $62 inside intact. He had visible head injuries. Later friends said that his laptop and camera were missing.

Already the commonwealth press Union are complaining that the Kenyan government is not doing enough to ensure that the killer or killers of the New Zealand-born photojournalist are brought to book.

Kenyans who hear that complaint will only sympathize with the family of the departed scribe who at the time of his death was only 33 years old. They will also feel great pity because they know only too well that it would take a huge miracle for the killers of the journalist to be brought to book.

In fact promises to catch murderers (which is what the government will most probably give to the commonwealth press union) mean nothing when it comes to assassinations in Kenya. Retired president Moi himself solemnly told Kenyans that “no stone would be left unturned” in finding the killers of the late Kenyan foreign affairs Minister Dr Robert Ouko. To date that promise remains just that—an empty promise that has yet to be fulfilled. Instead Scotland Yard sleuth Retired Superintend John Troon barely escaped these shores with his life when he came a little too close to finding the truth about that murder. He was the lucky one. A long list of other ordinary Kenyans connected to that murder met mysterious and untimely deaths.

Chances are extremely high that the late Mr Keegan came across some information that somebody did not want to see published in the International press. In Kenya more often than not this tends to happen when the people involved are very powerful and wealth individuals (those two go closely together in Kenya). So how do you expect the Kenya police to get anywhere with such an investigation?

It is very important that as many Kenyans as possible address the question as to the possible motives of Mr Keegan’s untimely death because therein lies many answers and some of them may give key pointers as to why the press in Kenya has changed so much in recent times. This blogger as always is actively pursuing leads. Keep your eyes focused on this space over the next few days.

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Anonymous said...

Now I am sure that there is something going on and it is not good. Kenyans brace yourselves for the worst.

Anonymous said...

"But Dr Alfred Mutua, many agree, is a disgrace to the dignified and respected Public Relations profession."

He's a spin doctor- that's what they do. What do you think PR entails? You think Mutua is a 'disgrace', you obviously never saw Alistair Campbell in his prime.

Anonymous said...

Since you give the murder of Robert Ouko as an example, you should also state that the killers are known and have been named by John Troon and others. The names of those implicated and still alive are:

1. Nicholas Biwott (John Troon also hinted that it was Biwott himself who pulled the trigger)

2. former President Daniel arap Moi (since as John Troon has put it, Robert Ouko was clearly killed on Presidential order)

3. Dalmas Otieno (as John Troon has put it 'his direct involvement in the murder and/or the surrounding corruption being connected to this case, should also be investigated).

It was exactly the mentioning of the latter which caused some stir amongst the ODM-members of the Sunguh-Committee. But since the Moi-followers could not succeed in making sure that Moi's name was left out, they insisted to also let stay Otieno's name.

Result: the Sunguh-Report never reached Parliament and was therefore never accepted. And Sunguh - for having been so courageous to not bowe down to the pressure put on him - was shown the door. ODM did not nominate him for the last Elections. On the other side, Dalmas Otieno was awarded with a Cabinet post.

So much to the chapter 'we are all equal and deserve fair justice'.

I would even say that Raila already in this case has shown as a clear case of 'selected amnesty'. i.e. you just have to be powerful or 'useful to the ones in power' and you can walk free. Otieno first and now also the Mungiki - who will follow tomorrow?

And the same applies to Kibaki: He would have had the power to push for the Sunguh-Report to be officially discussed and its findings accepted. But then this would have meant to finally summon Daniel arap Moi and Nicholas Biwott. But both of them had decided to support PNU and thus avoided to be brought before court.
So also here, a blank amnesty was given - all in the name of 'justice'.

Anonymous said...

The reason kenya will continue to go down the drain is because we the people of kenya have a very strange notion that somebody somewhere will do the right thing....wake up that somebody is you! The solution is not tribal outfits like gema......As for the likes of Dalmas this guy has been a politician for as long as I can remember he played all the dirty politics of back then...this group of people together with the likes of livondo and kalooser continue to be relevant in kenya because you and I have let them.....we often talk of electing new mps....from where I ask? Stop thinking about electing and offer yourself or actively look for and help sponser the right candidate...sitting on our collective ass and pontificating will get us nowhere. revolutions anywhere in the world wether political, cultural or in business have always ben started by a small potent force of belivers lets be that change otherewise we will forever be choosing between dalmas and livondo and complaining to to grave.

Sir Alex

Anonymous said...

Kumekucha?? I just got some information and the source says go back and have a glance all the trucks and buses that were ferrying the police to other parts of kenyans - NAKURU, NAIVASHA, ELDORET, e.t.c a police informant just confirmed that most of the people in those trucks were not police but hired thugs by kibaki and cronies- he say follow those trucks and they will take you to what happened at the Eldoret church!! this is sickening-

The informant claims that kibaki and michuki and the gang already knew they were loosing the elections so they had t come up with something very drastic to giver them time to recoup and play the blame game and point fingers to the opposition!
the police spokesman claims this was already reported to MAINA KIAI AND THAT IS WHY HE RAN AWAY - the are talking now after they saw human rights report on who were the worst inciters of what happened in kenyan post elections and they were shocked by the report- a group of them about 400 have communicated and are going to swear affidavits with a lawyer and had them in to the relevant commission on what they say and what they were ordered to do!(this are the hero's) as far as i'm concerned at long last some truth is going to be heard!!(so long as they keep together and not let Saitoti or kibaki know who they are!!!You know what will happen to them!!execution!! they are being very careful- watch this space!!

Anonymous said...

Chris - Noe is good journalism about censoring what you would like us to hear. Severally and including today we send our opinions and you dont print. How diferent are you from Mutua?

Anonymous said...

Kenya is not only dangerous for journalist.

1)Kenya is dangerous for non-Kikuyu tribes who want power and business success.

2)Kenya is dangerous for people who want justice and truth.

3) Kenya is dangerous for people who want to assist the poor and the oppressed (Fr Kaiser, Bishop Muge, etc)

4)Kenya is dangerous for intellectuals and civilised minds.

5) Kenya is dangerous for people who want Kenya's development to expand and reach all corners of the country.

6)Kenya is dangerous for people who want devolution (Dr. Mbai)

Kenyans, I can foresee that Kibaki wants to oppress you more. More than Moi and Kenyatta did.

Kibaki will run for a third time because he does not have any one to protect him. Moi knew any Kikuyu would protect him (because he fuatad nyayo, meaning footsteps of Kenyatta). Kibaki is already a life president and nobody will oppose him.


Anonymous said...


Vikii said...

Dangerous nonsense is what this obsession with kibaki and kikuyus is.

Anonymous said...

what is this shiate?? kibaki and saitoti should be ashamed of themselves - now cops will be fighting each other to protect their own!!kibaki better watch out- many leaders have been done in with their own security- and whatever he is planning for Raila will end on him!!

Anonymous said...

anon11:42 AM

when you steal and loot from other tribes!! then dare to rig elections and deny them their democratic rights by using the government machinery to shoot them to death!! then i beg to differ it is not an obsession!! it is hate at the highest order!!

Anonymous said...

We all know that mungiki was paid millions if not billions , to exterminate luos and kalenjins in nakuru and naivsha while the police either particpated or gave it a blind eye , some body somewhere has the evidence linking powerful pnu power brokers to this , and they will stop at nothing until the truth comes out , and soon it will .

Anonymous said...

just musing I wonder what the kenya Ambassador to Washington- Ogego is thinking or feeling - after he commented the Obama a useless kijana trying to play politics ati he should go home to his grandmother and herd goats!!! what a useless man we have in Washington- instead of supporting a kenyan born Obama he was trying to run the usual kibaki politics- after all Ogego is a political appointee if i recall clearly he used to be with Riala in fact they were imprisoned together those days but he sold and back stubbed Raila for the first high commission appointment to Canada where i hear he really messed the accounts(ati he had to wear the most expensive suits curtsy to the kenyan government and eat in the most expensive restaurants- kids in private schools e.t.c sources from the mission in Canada- they should audit this goon!!
He should be removed from Washington - he is an embarrassment to us here in Washington- go for some of those Kenyan celebrations and you will know what I'm talking about!! Ogego a womanizer - he has a thing for musungu women -i pity his wife!! but her should stop wining and dinning Musungu women at the kenyan peoples expense- already the tax and the price of all the commodities in kenya are very high and ordinary kenyans are suffering0- so why is the government giving so much money to afford have affairs??


Anonymous said...


do you know that Obama's father (harvard educated) wrote a thesis and predicted that the devpt model proposed by the kenyatta/kibaki govt would lead kenya nowehere as opposed to the radical one proposed by south korea, taiwan, malaysia and others. today- those radical asian and latin american countries are in the 2nd world and have per capita incomes of more than 5-10,000 USD. While kenya with its ujuaji of kiambu mafia devpt model is still a 3rd world.

[b]we never forgot that it was the Kiambu Mafia in Govt and the Minister for Commerce then (Hon Kibaki) who sacked Senior obama from his govt job and mockingly said, "we will make sure you will be poor and walk on pati pati even if you have a Harvard PhD". [/b] similar incideniary remarks were uttered in 2006 (after the Senator visited Kenya and made his Taifa Hall speech) by the Mt. Kenya mafia and Govt Spokesman Dr Mutua.

history is strange. the son of that pati pati man has galavanised history in the super power country. while kenyattas son is stuck in kenyan corrupt and ethnicised politics after failing to get a degree from boston; kibaki's son are politically and business wise dormant and moi sons are kaput.

what goes round comes around. be careful of those whom you demonised and looked down upon for 45 years of kenya's history. they are rising up.

Kibaki and Michuki were in Cabinet in 1963 when Kennedy was running for Presdient when Obama was 1 year old. Today, Obama at 46 is a candidate and Kibaki and Michuki are still in Cabinet. and some kenyans (from a certain community) are here day in day out thinking kibaki and michuki will develop Kenya? what devpt plan takes 45 years to effect?

Anonymous said...

And let me add regarding Obama what even or especially one certain Jeff Koinange predicted in 2006 after having accompanied Obama to Kenya in an email to MB:

Hillary YES - Obama NO - too soon, America is not ready yet for a black President.......

I wonder what JK is saying now ?

vikii said...

This typical Kenyanism belongs to the past.

People, including me, are proud of Barack and rightly so. He has done some of us proud. His joy is my joy. Whether he wins in the fall or not, he has accomplished a feat no one else like him has been able to in 302 years. Congratulations to him.

Having said that, I think this ODM mentality that you have to be 'in our corner for you to be important' is frankly stupid. Ogego has the right to like or dislike Obama., Anony 5.21. We all have the right to like a politician or dislike him/her. This is the same backwardness you guys want to introduce in Kenya-- That anybody who opposes Raila Odinga is either a thief or a traitor. You know as much as we do that that is a philosophy that belongs to losers.

Anony 7.15, wewe ni mmoja wa wale raia Mungu alisema tunafaha kusamehea, kwa sababu hawajui wasemalo wala wafanyalo. When exactly did Hon Kibaki utter those words you attribute to him?
For your education sir, people like Senator Edward Kennedy joined the US senate before Kibaki and Michuki joined the Kenyan parliament and they are not only the longest serving senators and probably the most respected in the history of the country's politics, but also one of Barack's core supporters. You get myopic when you start imagining that anyone who doesnt subscribe to your political inclination is either wrong or ignorant. Again, it is time we shunned these philosophies of losers!

Anonymous said...

I thought this was about security..which we have never had... in kenya but people have brought out some interesting thoughts.....No tribe had a greater infulence in which way kenya would go economically that the is only in the later days of MO1s rule that other tribes had a chance at treasuery....and from what I know first hand mo1 had no clue about what went about in the tresuery impeccable sources tell me that one saitoti would alocate more money for kajiado that for baringo and mo1 would never know of it. So what kenya is today is largely the result of kikuyu rule. Clearly they can creat private wealth but running a nation is not in their league. The evidence is there for them to see. Even lately we we are trying to unite all they can think of is GEMA...succsession...what happened to development I mean even development in their area.
I continue to challenge them get central right first...with all that wealth.

Sir Alex

Vikii said...

Sir Alex, it is clear you aspire to be like Moi when you grow up. Good luck. That's a great guy to have as a hero.
And did you say this was about security? Let's head right there, sir

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