Dear Kenyans, the media ain’t your nanny! 

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto during the 18th Nation prayer Breakfast at parliament buildings on May 27, 2021.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The media have neither the wish nor the capacity to play Uhuru and Ruto against each other or incite their supporters to fight each other.
  • Being the political silly season, it is the media that sections of the political class have heaped the blame on.
  • If you are the type that still wants to behead your neighbour because of a newspaper headline, you need to be called what you really are: a criminal.

In Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the main character Okonkwo comes off as a man so proud of his perceived personal achievements that he doesn’t mind bragging about them in public, and he is unbothered by the prospects of being judged by others.

So he is quoted saying in one chapter that ‘the lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no else did’.

Like Okonkwo, I often have no qualms amplifying the good work we media people do amid the many attempts to intimidate and delegitimise us.

And, I tend to take no prisoners while at it.

After close to two decades doing just this job of reporting news, I can tell you whether a story is a hit or a miss by us or our competition while half asleep.

The other weekend, for example, this paper did an excellent piece of journalism reporting the content of leaked audio in which Deputy President William Ruto is heard saying he almost slapped his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, hours after the Supreme Court nullified their re-election in September 2017.

In the audio recorded at a meeting with a delegation of elders from the President’s ethnic community, Dr Ruto seeks to explain the circumstances surrounding their bitter falling-out that has shaped the dramatic political realignments in Kenya in the past four years and eleven months.

Dripping with innuendo about personal lifestyles and character assassination, it is perhaps the closest anyone has come to answering the question: what happened between President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto?

The two have in the past separately blamed the decision by one of them to engage in early election campaigns or the Handshake between President Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga.

Sensational claims 

The protagonists have since come out to cryptically confirm the happenings while their respective allies have made even more sensational claims about personal anger management issues or addictions.

Being the political silly season, it is the media that sections of the political class have heaped the blame on.

The press is accused of fanning conflict by reporting confessions at closed-door meetings or public spats between the country’s most powerful politicians.

Come on Kenyans, grow up!

The media have neither the wish nor the capacity to play the two adult men against each other or incite their supporters to fight each other.

Neither are we your nanny!

If you are the type that still wants to behead your neighbour because of a newspaper headline, you need to be called what you really are: a criminal.

In mature democracies, politicians say nastier things about each other in public and their supporters don’t butcher each other for it.

According to a Vanity Fair report, former US President Donald Trump was so furious about his polling numbers during the 2020 election campaigns that he asked his staff how he could be losing to a ‘mental retard’.

[email protected] @otienootieno

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