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What Kenyan history have journalists been taught? Unlearn it

The emotive land issues in Kenya can be traced to post-independence when the elite in government scrambled for prime land left by white settlers (Standard, July 21, p.2). Poor grasp of Kenyan history. This is excusing colonialism. The issues can be traced to the grabbing of people’s land by British colonialists.

There is mild tension at the University of Nairobi (UoN) amid a clash of ideas that threatens to derail the institution’s academic programmes (Nation, July 20, p.14). This is not reporting the news. It is editorialising. Report the facts of what is going on and readers are smart enough to decide whether it qualifies as “mild tension” or something else. In any case, is a clash “that threatens to derail the institution’s academic programmes” merely “mild tension”? In whose opinion?

The coronavirus has only added an additional plot to school drama festivals after failing to stop the show this year (Nation, July 23, p.11). Wooi! You can’t “add an additional” something. Just add.

A 27-year-old woman in Machakos County was on Monday arraigned in court for allegedly poisoning her two children aged 6 and 5, killing one of them (Citizen Digital, July 21). We repeat: arraign is enough. It means to be charged in a court. Plus, it is common practice to write numerals one to nine in words, and 10 onwards in figures (except in dates, like July 2).

An appellant court has set August 20 as the date to deliver its judgement on an appeal against the High Court’s verdict to stop changes to the law proposed by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) (Standard, July 21, p.6). The Court of Appeal is also called the “appellate” court. “Appellant” is a person seeking reversal of a court ruling.

He said the coalition is seen as a vessel to challenge the dominance of ODM and Jubilee Party that have dominated the politics of Coast region for the past several years (People Daily, July 21, p.5). “…the dominance of ODM and Jubilee Party that have dominated…” is bad construction. Rather, it is “the dominance of ODM and Jubilee Party in the politics of the Coast region for the past several years”.

NCIC successfully completes Marsabit County peace talks (KBC online headline, July 21). So, what is the news? At least 100 people have been killed in recent months in the county. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission holds two-day peace talks there. And this is the headline KBC writes? Press release journalism. Outcome of the talks is the news.

Finally, worst headline of the week: Jubilee civil war persists as members call for changes (People Daily, July 21, p.12). Oya! Intro: Wrangles within Jubilee Party are far from over after a section of leaders maintained that leadership change must take place for it to reclaim its glory. So, “civil war” =wrangles? See who is beating the war drums now?

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