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Why Kenyan journalism took a beating in Nanyuki

Mercy Simiyu and Josephine Njoroge wrote an interesting story on last week’s mediascape: “Why young people will not vote next year”. Young people do not want to register as voters because they are tired of recycled politicians who do not fulfill election promises.

Really? Look, we have tens of millions of young people in this country. How many did the Daily Nation speak to?

Those in towns say they cannot travel upcountry to register.  Do they have to travel upcountry?

This is what we call a biased story. It is biased towards young people not interested in matters politics, let alone voting.

Then the interviewed youths: six of them university students. We would not be way off the mark to conclude that the other two were also university students.

And why was it that Ms Mikidadi was said to be from Nakuru, but at the bottom she suddenly changed her address to Baharini constituency?

Which brings in the question of credibility of the intro, namely, that young people do not want to vote.

Perhaps the article ought to have been re-angled to “why Kenya’s university students do not want to vote…”

One would have expected the writers to tell us, one, out of the new registered voters, how many are youths? What are the ages of these youths in a country where 60-year-olds are regarded as “youth leaders”? Did the interviewers really interact with these “young people”, or was it a quick hit and run?

What about the voices of thousands of young people out there who registered as new voters, why were they not given a chance to be heard in the name of balance and objectivity?

Give it to Peter Mwaura, the Twin Towers public editor, for telling his employer what they may not like to hear; that their investigative desks are sleeping on the job.

On Friday, Mwaura penned a piece titled, “Reputation of Kenyan journalism takes a beating on Agnes murder”.

In the piece, Mwaura called out our journalism for being caught napping and getting scooped by Western parachute journalists with the gripping story of Agnes, killed by a British soldier in Nanyuki nearly a decade ago.

The story, broken by London’s Sunday Times and Sky News, spread like a wildfire on the international media.

Sadly, we were caught pens down on this one, and tried our best to play catch up with such headlines as, “Kenya authorities accused of aiding British cover up of Wanjiru’s murder” (Daily Nation).

Mwaura was brunt: “It was not a perfect cover up. At each stage of the ‘cover-up’ there were windows of opportunity for investigative journalism. This includes interviewing relatives, friends of Wanjiru…hotel staff (where she was killed) and examining the hotel guest register.”

There were even proceedings of an inquest into Wanjiuru’s death, where the magistrate ruled ‘murder’ and stated clearly who she thought killed Wanjiru.

That was nine years ago. We did our usual “he said”, “she-said” reporting that most probably ran as a brief and went back to town with our political stories.

Nine years later, our armchair journalism has been called out by fellows who came and scooped us on a story that we ought to have told so long ago. Shame on us!

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