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Radio Jambo and the not so ordinary exposés

The good old book, the Old Testament, makes some interesting anecdotes regarding rape in the following examples.

When Jacob’s daughter Dinah was violated by the son of a neighbouring ruler, Shechem, her brothers murdered him (Genesis 34). A concubine who is unnamed in the Bible was sexually assaulted (gang-raped) and left for dead. Her tribe went to war to revenge (Judges 19-21). When Tamar was raped by her half-brother Amnon, her brother Absolom killed him (2 Sam 13).

Interesting but also crude. Part II of the Bible seemingly teaches otherwise – the practice and benefits of turning the other cheek. Furthermore, normatively we are taught to respect and uphold the law. That one is innocent until proven guilty, allowing for legal procedure to take course.

So what happens when a criminal confesses live – they pick up their phone, call a radio host and narrate a past crime to the astonishment of the host? Do you cut them off air or do you call the police upon them? How to go about it?

Let’s look at the experiences below.

The toboa siri segment of Mbusi na Lion teketeke show unfolds at 1700hrs on January 28, 2019 on Radio Jambo. The most hilarious show is hosted daily by Githinji Mwangi (Mbusi) and Alexander Afune (Lion). Under the toboa siri segment listeners are given a rare chance to call live and unfold their secrets to the public. This is a great innovation, but it comes with challenges.

On this warm Monday evening the hosts conduct a phone interview interrogating a rapist who broadly explains how together with other possible culprits he planned and executed a rape. Yes, you’ve heard right.

The disclosure is transcribed as follows: Sasa ule wa mbele alikuja wakuje kukutana na yeye, halafu venye alimfikia sasa alikuwa amejivunika kwa uso hakuwa anajulikana, kila mtu alikuwa amejifunika. Sasa huyo venye alikuja alikuwa na cello tape ya black halafu akamfunika mdomo ,halafu wa katikati akatoka huko na kitambaa halafu akamfunika uso, halafu mimi mwenye nilikuwa nyuma nikatoka huko na kamba nikamfunga mikono, halafu tukambeba tukampeleka kwa kichaka fulani.”

This is an actual confession loosely translated as, “the one in front came to meet her. His face was covered not to be recognized. Everybody’s face was covered too. The approaching guy covered the girl’s mouth with a cello tape. The one who positioned himself at the middle covered her face with a rag. Then I came from behind and tied her hands and we carried her to a certain bush.”

The man confesses to having a plan to leave the country to avoid arrest. He put to light what they did and confirmed that he was one of those who committed the crime and was not ready whatsoever to take care of the baby.

The radio presenters are dumbfounded. All they do is insist on the welfare of the mother and the baby, which the confessor arrogantly brushes aside proposing abortion. Callous. The hosts are clearly overwhelmed by the awful confession.

Another case also happened on Radio Jambo in a show dubbed Gidi na Ghost Asubuhi. Here the hosts interview a woman who confesses to having killed her husband’s sidechick (mpango wa kando). Again, the journalists are overwhelmed with shock to a point where they are unable to control the conversation and give it a professional angle.

Such confessions in a way can encourage extreme behaviour especially when the listener is exposed to terms and phrases like “I strangled her myself, by the way hasira nilikuwa nayo, nilikuwa nasikia hata nimkatakate. Nilukuwa na kisu nilinolewa na mtu wa butchery nyumbani but nilimstrangle na akakufa kabisa.”

A journalist has an authority to press the obscene button to cut off conversation in case they feel the information is in bad taste. They should change the conversation or frame it in a professional manner appropriate for public consumption.

The journalists failed on integrity since the Code of Practice clearly stipulates that: Journalists shall present news with integrity and common decency, avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest, and respect the dignity and intelligence of the audience as well as the subject of news.

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