BY STEVE JOHNSON
A Kenyan-born US based journalist was feted on Thursday for exemplary service during the coverage of the 2017 Kenyan general election.
BMJ Muriithi – who is a multimedia specialist – received the award at a ceremony held at the Voice America headquarters on Independence Avenue in Washington DC.
While presenting the Superior Achievement Award, the agency’s Africa Division Chief, Negussie Mengesha, praised the journalist for “outstanding reporting and going beyond the call of duty” while covering the polls in the East African nation for radio, TV and online platforms.
Muriithi was among thousands of journalists representing international media organizations who traversed the country and extensively covered the events relating to the much publicized exercise in August – including the campaigns, interviews,l the voting, vote tallying, transmission process, the announcement of the results and the aftereffects.
“I am elated for this recognition but must hasten to add that it was team work that made the reportage have the desired effect and impact. I thank our audience across the globe as well as all my colleagues who made it possible,” said Muriithi who wore a big smile.
“These stories must be told as objectively as possible especially now that we live in the era of Fake News. It is a phenomenon that compels us to be extra vigilant while trying to be as prompt as possible in disseminating our content. We have to check and recheck our content before hitting the publish button,” he told this reporter.
The presidential poll is set to be repeated on October 26th after the results were overturned by the Supreme court owing to what the majority judges on the petition panel called “irregularities and illegalities” during the exercise.
On 28 August, the Kenyan Supreme Court heard Mr Odinga’s arguments for the first time. Permission was granted to allow two agents of both the ruling party and Odinga’s NASA party to audit the IEBC results, though Odinga’s lawyer James Orengo, alleged afterwards that the IEBC was denying his team full access to the servers and other equipment that transmitted results from polling stations to the tallying centre despite the court allowing “read-only” access.
Closing arguments then concluded on 29 August and it was announced that the court would make a decision on 1 September surrounding the results of the presidential election. It was later announced on 30 August that the IEBC had submitted all result forms for scrutiny to give the Supreme Court a clear picture on how Kenyans voted during the elections.
On 1 September, the Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s election victory and ordered that a new presidential election take place within 60 days.
On 5 September the IEBC set the next presidential election to be held on 17 October. However, Odinga announced he would not participate in a new presidential election without “legal and constitutional guarantees” against alleged electoral fraud. However, It was later announced on 21 September that the election would be delayed until 26 October after the IEBC sought more time to prepare for the voting processes. The same day, IEBC Legal Affairs officer Praxedes Tororey succumbed to sustained pressure from NASA and resigned from her post.
Following several aborted meetings between IEBC and representatives of the political parties, NASA annonced that its supporters would be holding demonstrations every Monday and Friday, until the electoral body addresses the following ‘irreducible minimum’ demands:
- Appoint and gazette returning officers in consultations with political parties and candidates.
- Establish a technical monitoring committee with representatives of the main political parties, coalitions or candidates to oversee implementation of the technology in use.
- Stop use of Al-Ghurair to print ballot papers and results declaration forms as well as engage an electoral technology company other than OT Morpho (a French multinational company specializing in security and identity solutions and which has since changed its name to IDEMIA.)
- All Forms 34Bs should be pre-printed indicating the names of polling stations in the constituency and names of candidates
- Elections results to be announced at the Constituency level. Results sent electronically must be accompanied by corresponding statutory result declaration forms
- Candidates’ agents should be part of receiving teams at the constituency and national tallying centers, and be allowed to confirm entries before transmission
- Establish defined roles of the security agencies and eliminate undue influence by the provincial administration and other public officials
In the meantime, Jubilee members of parliament introduced a bill in parliament seeking to change some of the electoral laws preferably before the date of the repeat poll.
“The journalist has reported on all these issues with dedication and exemplary professionalism,” read part of the message on the certificate.
Muriithi has been covering stories from around the world with special emphasis on East and Central Africa.
IRONY: CNN Publishes Larry Madowo’s article after “Daily Nation’ rejects it
Celebrated NTV news anchor Larry Madowo was on Wednesday dealt a major blow by his employer Nation Media Group (NMG), days after his controversial opinion piece on Interior and Coordination Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
In a tweet, Mr. Madowo disclosed that the Daily Nation, a paper published by the Aga Khan-owned media house, refused to publish his opinion piece on his FrontRow column.
The outspoken journalist noted that it was the first time in nearly four years that such a thing happened during his employment at NMG.
“This week, the @dailynation refused to print my column for the first time in nearly 4 years,” he tweeted.
Though the Daily Nation refused to publish Madowo’s Wednesday opinion piece titled: Why it’s a perilous time to be a journalist in Kenya, International Media company CNN took up the article and published it.
“The irony aside, the same piece is now published on CNN,” he said.
In the piece, Madowo speaks of how he spent the night at his office after plain clothed police officers camped outside NMG’s building along Kimathi street with the intention of arresting him NTV Managing Editor Linus Kaikai and anchor Ken Mijungu.
The trio was being hunted down by police for refusing to adhere to Government’s order not to broadcast the controversial swearing-in of NASA leader Raila Odinga as the People’s President.
“They had orders to arrest my colleagues Linus Kaikai who also chairs the Editors Guild, reporter Ken Mijungu and myself without a warrant which would have set a dangerous precedent.
“The next day, we had to sneak out into a safe house as our lawyers battled to keep us from getting detained,” Madowo mentions in his piece.
Before Odinga’s oath-taking Madowo entered into a scuffle with his bosses over media independence during an official meeting.
The NTV news anchor was particularly agitated that the company had not taken any meaningful action to protect Justus Wanga – a Nation reporter who faced threats from Deputy President William Ruto’s press secretary David Mugonyi.
A source privy to the details of the meeting told Pulselive.co.ke that the management was considering scrapping Madowo’s column from the Daily Nation.
Read the full article here courtesy of CNN
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VIDEO: AU summit ends in Addis amid claims of bugging by the Chinese
The 30th AU summit wound up Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after 8 days of deliberations on a myriad of topics.
Meanwhile, China has dismissed reports it bugged the African Union (AU) headquarters as “preposterous”.
Kuang Weilin, the Chinese ambassador to the AU, told reporters in Ethiopia the “absurd” claim in France’s Le Monde was “very difficult to understand”.
He spoke out three days after the newspaper published an article claiming data from the Chinese-built AU building was being copied to Shanghai.
The article said the discovery resulted in all the AU servers being switched.
Le Monde spoke to a number of anonymous sources, who claimed the alleged transfer was taking place late at night [link in French], and was only spotted in January 2017 due to the spike in activity between midnight and 02:00, despite no-one being in the building.
It was suggested the alleged data transfer had been taking place since 2012, when the building, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, was opened.
Officials also brought in security experts from Algeria to sweep the entire headquarters for potential bugs, the newspaper said, leading to the discovery of microphones in desks.
But Mr Kuang – who hailed the headquarters as a “monument” to his country’s relationship with the continent – said it was entirely untrue.
“I really question its intention,” he told reporters on Monday. “I think it will undermine and send a very negative message to people. I think it is not good for the image of the newspaper itself.
“Certainly, it will create problems for China-Africa relations.”
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