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NYT editor ‘pleads guilty’ over controversial Nairobi job ad



New York Times international editor Michael Slackman has owned up to approving a job advert for an Africa correspondent that was full of clichéd descriptions of the continent.

It talked about reporting from “the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, down through the forests of Congo and the shores of Tanzania”.

The advert attracted criticism and mockery.

A video of three women reading out the text was widely shared.



The controversial New York Times add that is still appearing on their LinkedIn account. PHOTO | COURTESY

A lot of people were also sharing one man’s satirical video application where he appears to be walking through a jungle.

In a Twitter thread, Mr Slackman said the advert was the result of taking a short cut, where he just approved the text of a job description from 18 months ago.

Addressing the criticism that the advert reflected the New York Times’ view of the continent, the paper’s international editor said it was “committed to covering Africa, not as if it were some stereotype, but because it matters”:

So will this end the criticism? While some have welcomed the apology, others are not satisfied.

A prominent Kenyan commentator wondered why the advert was allowed to go through 18 months ago without any query.

“18 months ago is not ancient history. This advert was as dodgy then as it is now,” said Nanjala Nyabola on her twitter response to Mr Slackman.

Mr Slackman’s attempt to seek views from journalists interested in covering Africa on how they approach the topic did not amuse cultural analyst and literary critic Dr Joyce Nyairo.

“There we go again…someone with a cheque book and with an organization’s full backing is here asking locals what they think before asking them how much their intellect, experience and networks will cost!…Hire a consultant,” fired Ms Nyairo on her twitter post.

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Govt orders all civil servants to wear ‘Made in Kenya’ on Fridays



Civil servants will now be required to wear Kenyan-made outfits to work on Fridays and on public holidays.

The order was issued in a circular from the Office of the Attorney General dated October 17, 2019, by the Solicitor General, Ken Ogeto, as part of a scheme to achieve president Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big 4 Agenda that touches on manufacturing.

“Pursuant to the achievement of the Big 4 Agenda and specifically the expansion of Manufacturing Pillar by producing better goods and creating local employment, I direct that all members of staff shall on all Fridays be dressed in decent, smart casual Kenyan produced and tailored attire,” the circular signed by Ogeto read in part.

On Tuesday, Ogeto confirmed the authenticity of the circular. “The circular is authentic yes . It was issued in line with govt policy to spur growth of local manufacturing industry as one of the pillars of the big four, ” he said in a text message.

The directive took effect last Friday, October 18, and is expected to be part of the official dress code for government staff. The order was addressed to all heads of departments and regional heads and copied to the AG Kihara Kariuki.

During Mashujaa Day celebrations last Sunday in Mombasa, the usual dark suits worn by top officials were replaced by colourful African design attires.


President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and Cabinet Secretaries all wore Kenyan made outfits in what was said to be setting an example for Kenyans to embrace local products.

Some of the local governors including Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi also wore similar attires.

The attires were reportedly made at Bedi Investment Limited, a textile firm based in Nakuru County.

This is not the first time the government has pushed for the adoption of Kenyan wear to boost local markets. During the commissioning of ultramodern textile industry Rivatex this year, President Kenyatta appealed to Kenyans to proudly wear “Made in Kenya” clothes.

“For government to lead by example, I urge all public servants to wear at least one piece of garment made in Kenya on Fridays,” he added. During the event, the President wore a shirt made at Rivatex. And in March last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared Fridays as Kenyan attire day.


In a memo to Directors, Heads of Departments and various units, Tom Amolo, the Political and Diplomatic Secretary in the ministry, said that “Africanness” should be used as a tool for diplomacy.

“We brand our nation as much through our choice of attire, as what we may say or do,” Amolo wrote.

Amolo called on state officers and all Kenyans to embrace the various African fabrics and fashion styles from wherever they are in Africa or outside.

“The ethos of this re-engagement speaks to an assertion of an affirmative African narrative that defines our Africaness and insists that at its core, its manifestations and reflections – being African is best,” he said.

He said that the initiative aimed at increasing awareness on Kenya’s culture as well as generate interest in the country’s heritage.

Past initiatives to come up with a quintessential Kenyan dress have however been fruitless.


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Policewoman in outburst video sent on compulsory leave



A police officer who was last week caught on video complaining against being posted to assignments without allowances has been sent on compulsory leave.

The National Police Service Commission chairman Eliud Kinuthia on Tuesday said the officer, Jane Asimizi, had been sent home to allow for investigations.

“We have ordered that Asimizi to undergo a psychiatric test to ascertain whether she is of sound mind. What she said on the video last week is not typical of a normal law enforcement personnel,” said Kinuthia.

Hours after the video went viral, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai ordered the officer to be hospitalised terming her rant as unprofessional.


“The woman’s frustrations ought to have been channeled through private avenues to express her frustrations. I have given instructions for the officer to be taken to hospital for (a) mental test,” Mutyambai said.

In the undated video, the policewoman is heard complaining of being frustrated by her bosses who only send her to jobs that do not have allowances.

This was after she was allegedly assigned to man an exam container in Kakamega but was withdrawn from the duty.

But according to her direct boss, Leonard Omollo, who is the Western Kenya deputy regional police commander, Asimizi was never assigned to man the exam container.

“I would like to state categorically that nobody deployed the officer to guard that exam container. She was only meant to escort the container, we have officers who will then man the exams, said Omollo.


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Robbery suspect who injured victim after finding him with just Sh50 charged



A suspected robber who injured his victim after he found just Sh50 in his pockets was on Tuesday charged before a Makadara Law Courts with inflicting serious injuries.

Kelvin Nyambera Akama was charged with causing grievous harms to Leonard Okochi Omina in Kamulu area of Njiru Sub County in Nairobi on October 21.

Omina was heading home with a friend only identified as Kizito at around 8pm when they were accosted by Akama along a footpath.

The suspect demanded money violently and Kizito gave Sh50 which is all he had. Akama picked it unwillingly claiming it was too little.

Akama then allegedly hit Kizito with a wooden bar sending him sprawling on the ground.

The suspected is accused of striking Omina several times with the timber as he attempted to rescue his friend.

The two were rescued by members of public who caught the suspect in the act.

Akama denied the charges before senior principal magistrate Angelo Kithinji.

He was freed on a bond of Sh200,000 with two sureties of similar amount or an alternative cash bail of Sh100,000.


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