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Asking ‘silly questions’ is a journalist’s job

Reporters in Kisumu last week got into trouble with a county official during a press conference in Governor Anyang Nyon’go’s offices.

Nyongo’s Tourism and Sports minister Achie Alal was pissed off by the journalists who were asking what she concluded were “silly questions”, the Star reported.

The minister threw a mighty tantrum when the reporters wanted to know who finances Nyong’o’s foreign trips and their benefit to the residents of Kisumu. The county has increased the travel budget this year to Sh168 million up from Sh140 million.

Alal stormed out of the press conference, fulminating that the reporters were asking “silly questions”.

Kisumu Journalists Network protested to Governor Nyong’o, demanding he disciplines Alal. “Journalists should not be mistreated when they are performing their duties,” Chairman Dickson Odhiambo said.

Now, good lady Achie Alal, journalists exist solely to ask “silly questions” like they did at that press conference last week. The benefits of Nyong’o’s foreign journeys to the people of Kisumu is certainly a silly question. So silly it got you angry.

Perhaps, madam, you expected the journalists to bring you flowers to the press conference instead of asking “silly questions”? Yes, journalists may give flowers to anyone they fancy but that is not what they are trained and hired to do. That is not their professional mandate.

This is the mandate: When journalists encounter a public official like Achie Alal, they must right away bombard her with so many “silly questions” until she breaks down or flees to the hills never to return to office.

Achie Alal, you need education. Badly. It is astounding that with such obvious ignorance about the conduct of public affairs, Governor Nyong’o, a professor of political science to boot, hired you in his cabinet. A journalist then must want to know what value you add to the Kisumu county executive.

Journalists ask “silly questions” about matters of public interest on behalf of the people who pay your salary and the many benefits you enjoy as a member of Nyong’o’s executive. The office your boss holds – and by extension yours – is a public trust.

If you have no stomach for “silly questions”, the honourable thing to do, madam, is to write to your boss and tell him you would be better off growing sorghum for brewing keg beer. People are getting filthy rich out there in the sorghum fields where no one asks them “silly questions.”

Let pesky journalists be. They are simply doing their job.


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