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Nation’s fake Raila story

On Monday last week, Daily Nation’s big story was headlined, “Fall of Nasa looms as Raila skips meeting.” Under that heading, the paper asked in a blurb: “Is this the beginning of the end? Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi meet today to plot their political future and Raila is not invited as he is now ‘an outsider’ since his meeting with Kenyatta last Friday. No one is saying it, but the end of the coalition is nigh.”

The Nation story appeared on page 4. “Cracks in the National Super Alliance widened further yesterday following revelations that Orange Democratic Movement leader and the coalition head Raila Odinga will snub a meeting of co-principals scheduled for today,” the paper reported.

It went on to claim that plans for the meeting were finalized the previous week and that questions were being raised on why Odinga had played along if he did not plan to attend.

Both Musyoka and Wetang’ula were quoted as confirming the meeting was on.

“But as Mr. Musyoka and Mr. Wetang’ula yesterday rolled their sleeves for the meeting today, Mr Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango was telling the Nation that he was not aware of any plans for Nasa to meet,” the Nation reported.

Who was not aware? Dennis Onyango or his boss?

But then the meeting took place in Athi River – with Raila present! At the end of it, Musalia Mudavadi read out a statement confirming Nasa’s commitment to national dialogue.

On what basis did the Nation claim on its front page that Raila was not invited to the Nasa summit “as he is now an outsider since his meeting with Kenyatta last Friday?” Who made this claim? It is not attributed to anyone. It does not appear anywhere in the entire report on page 4.

What was the Nation up to?

There is no love lost between the Daily Nation and Nasa. In January, Raila’s spokesman Dennis Onyango wrote a long complaint alleging that the Nation was engaged in spreading deliberate misinformation about Nasa. Onyango listed a number of leading stories in the paper that he said were false.

“For some time now, the Newspaper Division of the Nation Media Group has engaged in what is clearly a mission of misinformation about the activities and intentions of the National Super Alliance. The aim appears to be to divide the coalition and demoralize supporters,” Onyango protested.

We cannot independently confirm Onyango’s allegations, but last week’s lead story raises serious questions about the Daily Nation’s credibility.

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